Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Group Living Services (PA-GLS) 8: Group Living Program

Residents participate in the development of a group living program that is individually tailored to their age, developmental level, social and emotional needs, strengths, and interests.
2020 Edition




Group Living Services allow individuals who need additional support to regain, maintain, and improve life skills and functioning in a safe, stable, community-based living arrangement.
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
  • Sample of activity schedules
  • Procedures for involving residents in decision making
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Residents
  • Review case records
  • Observe the program

PA-GLS 8.01

Group living services are integrated with the resident’s daily living experience and include, as appropriate:
  1. treatment for severe emotional disturbance or mental health and substance use conditions;
  2. individual and group counseling;
  3. family therapy;
  4. educational and/or vocational programming;
  5. recreational activities;
  6. legal advocacy;
  7. opportunities to participate in religious observances in a faith or spirituality of choice;
  8. community cultural enrichment, shopping, volunteer and paid work activities; and
  9. independent living preparation.

PA-GLS 8.02

Program personnel provide predictability and structure by developing routines and rules with residents and their family members.

PA-GLS 8.03

Residents are given the opportunity for voice and choice in program activities, as well as to share feedback including dissatisfaction with aspects of care.
Examples: The establishment of resident councils is one way to involve individuals in all aspects of care and ensure that they have an opportunity to provide feedback on staff, activities, rules, food, their overall care experience, sense of safety and support, and the living environment. This type of activity can also provide opportunities for youth advocacy, self-efficacy, and leadership. For programs serving youth, family advisory councils can be established to involve families in the governance of the program.

PA-GLS 8.04

Program personnel provide residents with:
  1. a variety of nutritious meals and snacks;
  2. personal items such as clothing and an individual allowance;
  3. companionship;
  4. support and assistance needed to participate in group living and community activities; and
  5. a flexible daily schedule to develop and enhance positive personal and interpersonal skills and behaviors.


Special diets should be planned to meet the modified needs of individual residents.