Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Services for Unaccompanied Children (UC) 10: Care and Supervision

The organization provides 24-hour-a-day supportive care and supervision tailored to each child’s developmental, cultural, educational, clinical, and safety needs.
NA The organization provides post-release services only.
2020 Edition




Unaccompanied Children Services support youth safety and well-being, facilitate family involvement and provide necessary supports to children seeking physical and emotional safety and legal protection.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Children/personnel care and supervision ratios
  • Supervision and scheduling criteria
  • Resident/personnel care and supervision coverage schedules for the previous six months
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Children served
  • Review case records

UC 10.01

Adequate care and supervision are provided at all times according to the developmental level, age, and emotional or behavioral needs of children served.

Fundamental Practice

UC 10.02

Each child’s basic daily living requirements are met in a culturally responsive manner including necessary nutrition, clothing, and allowances.


Children should be provided with a variety of nutritious food options. Special diets should be planned to meet the modified needs of children as necessary.

UC 10.03

Children and youth have sufficient uninterrupted sleep and, when practical, follow familiar routines for bedtime, bathing, and meals.

UC 10.04

Adults that provide direct care and supervision offer children: 
  1. a positive role model;
  2. nurturance, structure, support, respect, and active involvement;
  3. services provided in a safe, secure environment 
  4. predictable limit-setting;
  5. flexibility when appropriate and in the child’s best interest;
  6. guided practice to learn effective communication, positive social interaction, and problem solving skills; and
  7. education and skills training specific to risk-taking behaviors including practice with decision making and anger management.


Measures that promote security should address prohibition of weapons and gang activity.
Examples: Regarding element (d), being flexible with codified rules that contradict a resident’s best interest will allow the organization to provide individualized care that is tailored to the resident’s needs. For example, being flexible with bedtimes for a resident who may have experienced nighttime trauma rather than strictly enforcing a lights out time allows the organization to be responsive to the needs of residents.

UC 10.05

The organization establishes procedures for preventing and responding to missing and runaway children that address: 
  1. creating an environment that provides a sense of safety, support, and community;
  2. identifying risks or triggers that may indicate likeliness to run away from programs;
  3. communication and reporting to relevant staff, authorities, and parents or legal guardians; and
  4. welcoming, screening, and debriefing when children return to the program.

Fundamental Practice

UC 10.06

Care and supervision is provided by: 
  1. personnel-to-participant ratios for day time and overnight hours that are appropriate to the program model, length of stay, population served, and their age, developmental and clinical needs;
  2. sufficient number of qualified personnel on-site that can respond to emergency situation and meet the special needs of residents at busy or more stressful periods;
  3. an on-call, professional staff member available on a 24-hour basis;
  4. rotating after-hours and holiday coverage when needed; and
  5. same-gender and cross-gender supervision when indicated by individual treatment needs.


The organization must demonstrate that based on their program model and the population served their staffing ratios for day time overnight coverage are addressing potential risks and meeting the needs of their clients.
Example: National recommendations for the supervision of children in residential care is that there are no more than four children per worker during waking hours and no more than eight children per worker during overnight hours.