Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Wilderness and Adventure-Based Therapeutic Outdoor Services (WT) 17: Case Closing and Aftercare

The organization works with youth and family members, when appropriate, to plan for case closing and, when possible, to develop aftercare plans.
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
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • In a few instances, the organization terminated services inappropriately; or  
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent; or
  • A formal case closing evaluation is not consistently provided to the public authority per the requirements of the standard.
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
  • Services are frequently terminated inappropriately; or  
  • Aftercare planning is not initiated early enough to ensure orderly transitions; or
  • A formal case closing summary and assessment is seldom provided to the public authority per the requirements of the standard; 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
  • Case closing procedures
  • Aftercare planning and follow-up procedures
  • Relevant portions of contract with public authority, as applicable
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Youth or families served
  • Review case records

WT 17.01

Planning for case closing:
  1. is a clearly defined process that includes assignment of personnel responsibility;
  2. begins at intake; and
  3. involves the worker, youth, a parent or legal guardian, and others as appropriate to the needs and wishes of the youth.

WT 17.02

Upon case closing, the organization notifies any collaborating service providers, as appropriate.

WT 17.03

If a youth has to leave the program unexpectedly, the organization makes every effort to identify other service options and link the youth with appropriate services.


The organization must determine on a case-by-case basis its responsibility to continue providing services to persons whose third-party benefits are denied or have ended and who are in critical situations.

Fundamental Practice

WT 17.04

As a continuing resource for information, crisis management, referral, and support, the organization provides youth transitioning to independence with:
  1. a transition plan summary including the youth’s options;
  2. a list of emergency and contact persons; and
  3. the organization’s contact information.
NA The organization does not serve youth transitioning to independence.

WT 17.05

The organization identifies counseling, mentoring, institutional, business, and information resources in the community that can promote positive ties to the community, networking and leadership opportunities, and readiness to assume responsibility for:
  1. activities of daily living;
  2. employment;
  3. use of community resources;
  4. serving as a resource to the community; and
  5. effective interpersonal communication and conflict resolution.

WT 17.06

When appropriate, the organization works with youth and their family to:
  1. develop an aftercare plan, sufficiently in advance of case closing, that helps youth to rejoin their families and communities, identifies short- and long-term needs and goals, and facilitates the initiation or continuation of needed supports and services; or 
  2. conduct a formal case closing evaluation, including an assessment of unmet need, when the organization has a contract with a public authority that does not include aftercare planning or follow-up.

WT 17.07

The organization follows up on the aftercare plan as appropriate, when possible, and with the permission of the youth.
NA The organization has a contract with a public authority that prohibits or does not include aftercare planning or follow-up.
Examples: Reasons why follow-up may not be appropriate include cases where the youth’s participation is involuntary, or where there may be a risk to the youth.