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.
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.
The organization establishes procedures for preventing and responding to missing and runaway children that address:
creating an environment that provides a sense of safety, support, and community;
identifying risks or triggers that may indicate likeliness to run away from programs;
communication and reporting to relevant staff, authorities, and parents or legal guardians; and
welcoming, screening, and debriefing when children return to the program.
Care and supervision is provided by:
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;
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;
an on-call, professional staff member available on a 24-hour basis;
rotating after-hours and holiday coverage when needed; and
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.