Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Wilderness and Adventure-Based Therapeutic Outdoor Services (WT) 10: Privacy Provisions

The organization provides for youth comfort, dignity, and private communications.
2020 Edition




Youth who participate in Wilderness and Adventure-based Therapeutic Outdoor Services expand individual capabilities, develop self-confidence and insight, ameliorate symptoms, and improve interpersonal skills and relationships.
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
  • Privacy policy
  • Privacy procedures
  • Judicial order, law, or contract as applicable
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Youth or families served
  • Review case records
  • Observe facilities

Fundamental Practice

WT 10.01

The organization prohibits the use of surveillance cameras or listening devices for routine observation unless required by judicial order, law, or contract.
Note: Please see the Facility Observation Checklist for additional guidance on this standard.

Fundamental Practice

WT 10.02

Searches of youth or their property are conducted in a trauma-informed manner that respects client rights, dignity, and self-determination and include, as appropriate to the frequency and invasiveness of searches:
  1. communicating to youth policies for searches of individuals or their property;
  2. timely notification of a parent and/or legal guardian;
  3. definition and documentation of reasonable cause and assessed risk of harm to self or others;
  4. trained, qualified personnel; and
  5. an administrative review process including documentation, notification, and the timetable for review.


Search procedures should correspond directly to the invasiveness of the search to be conducted. For example, more invasive searches should be reserved for higher risk situations with reasonable cause, should only be conducted by highly qualified personnel, and should always require an administrative review.

Fundamental Practice

WT 10.03

The organization only reviews mail when a previous incident involving the youth indicates that:
  1. the mail is suspected of containing unauthorized, dangerous, or illegal material or substances, in which case it may be opened by the youth in the presence of designated personnel; or
  2. receipt or sending of unopened mail is contraindicated.
Examples: Mail may include letters and packages as well as email and other forms of electronic correspondence. 

Fundamental Practice

WT 10.04

Each youth is entitled to private telephone conversations, and any restriction is:
  1. based on contraindications and/or a court order;
  2. approved in advance by the program director or an appropriate designee;
  3. documented in the case record; and
  4. reauthorized weekly by the immediate supervisor of the direct service provider.
Note: Please see the Facility Observation Checklist for additional guidance on this standard.