Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Crisis Response and Information Services (PA-CRI) 3: Intake and Assessment

The agency screens and assesses individuals promptly and responsively to efficiently determine urgency of need and ensure access to needed services.
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
  • Screening and intake procedures
  • Risk assessment procedures
  • Copy of risk assessment tool
  • Copy of comprehensive suicide risk assessment tool 
  • Outreach and informational materials
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records

PA-CRI 3.01

The agency provides information about:
  1. hours of operation; 
  2. how to access the agency's services; and
  3. whether crisis services have a particular focus (e.g. mental health or rape crisis intervention).

PA-CRI 3.02

Individuals are screened and informed about how well their request matches the agency's services.
NA Another agency is responsible for screening, as defined in a contract.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CRI 3.03

Prompt, responsive intake practices:
  1. gather information necessary to identify critical service needs and/or determine when a more intensive service is necessary; and
  2. support timely initiation of services or an appropriate referral when individuals cannot be served, or cannot be served promptly.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CRI 3.04

An ongoing, rapid risk assessment is conducted in a culturally and linguistically responsive manner to determine:
  1. if the individual is in imminent danger;
  2. potential lethality including harm to one’s self or others and risk for suicide;
  3. the individual’s emotional status and imminent psychosocial needs;
  4. individual strengths and available coping mechanisms; and
  5. resources that can increase service participation and success.


Some crisis intervention services, such as mobile crisis units, should include a more thorough psychosocial assessment. This is likely to occur when the treatment provided is much more extensive including the prescribing of medication by a physician.


The Assessment Matrix - Private, Public, Canadian, Network determines which level of assessment is required for COA’s Service Sections. The assessment elements of the Matrix can be tailored according to the needs of specific individuals or service design.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CRI 3.05

The agency uses a comprehensive, evidence-based suicide risk assessment tool to assess the following when suicide risk is identified: 
  1. suicidal desire;
  2. capability;
  3. intent; and
  4. buffers/protective factors.