Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Crisis Response and Information Services (PA-CRI) 2: Personnel

Program personnel have the competency and support needed to provide services and meet the needs of persons served.


Competency can be demonstrated through education, training, or experience. Support can be provided through supervision or other learning activities to improve understanding or skill development in specific areas.
2020 Edition




Crisis Response and Information Services operate as part of the community's crisis response system to provide immediate, dependable responses and reliable information to promote safety and stability for the individual in crisis.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for accessing supervisory support
  • Table of contents of training curricula
  • Debriefing procedures 
  • Sample job descriptions from across relevant job categories
  • Formal agreements with necessary professionals, as applicable
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of required trainings and/or competencies
  • Training curricula
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
  • Review personnel files

PA-CRI 2.01

Direct service providers are selected for their ability to handle stressful situations and for qualities such as maturity, judgment, and alertness to warning signs of potential crisis.

PA-CRI 2.02

Direct service providers work under the supervision of trained professionals who meet the applicable legal requirements for practice within their professions.

PA-CRI 2.03

At all times when the program is in operation:
  1. an individual with an advanced degree in human services and appropriate certification and/or licensure by the designated authority in their state is available to provide clinical supervisory guidance to direct service personnel; 
  2. crisis hotline personnel have immediate access to clinical supervision, when applicable; and
  3. procedures outline how to access this clinical support.


This support may be available on staff, through on-call consultation, or through a formal arrangement with a social service agency.

PA-CRI 2.04

Prior to coming in contact with the service population, direct service personnel are trained on, or demonstrate competency in:
  1. assessing for and responding to suicide risk;
  2. special issues regarding age, substance use and mental health conditions, developmental disabilities, and other needs typically presented by the service population;
  3. prevention of compassion fatigue or “burn-out”;
  4. procedures for making referrals to, or providing information on, community resources;
  5. interview techniques;
  6. handling emergencies including assessing needs in crisis situations, de-escalation techniques, and situations that may require consultation with supervising or cooperating professionals or the police; 
  7. laws governing disclosure of suspected abuse or other criminal behavior; 
  8. agency policy reconciling the principles of consumer confidentiality and the requirements of the law; and
  9. documentation requirements.

PA-CRI 2.05

Supervisors are trained on, or demonstrate competency in: 
  1. helping direct service personnel process and debrief following a crisis or traumatic event;
  2. building and maintaining morale;
  3. providing constructive ways for direct service personnel to approach difficult situations with service recipients; and 
  4. facilitating a structure for ongoing communication and collaboration among personnel.

PA-CRI 2.06

To minimize compassion fatigue and rapid turnover, the agency offers a standardized debriefing process for all service personnel.

PA-CRI 2.07

Employee workloads support the achievement of service recipient outcomes and are regularly reviewed.
Examples: Factors that may be considered when determining employee workloads include, but are not limited to:
  1. the qualifications, competencies, and experience of the worker including level of supervision needed;
  2. the work and time required to accomplish assigned tasks and job responsibilities; and
  3. service volume, accounting for assessed level of needs of persons served.