Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Wilderness and Adventure-Based Therapeutic Outdoor Services (WT) 6: Family Connections

The youth, family, and organization work together to determine an optimal level of family connection including involvement in treatment activities.
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
  • Family handbook or other material describing family involvement
  • Procedures for communicating emergency messages
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Youth or families served
  • Review case records


WT 6.01

The organization encourages active family participation, and arranges for family counseling, unless such involvement is contraindicated by the service plan.


WT 6.02

The organization helps youth:
  1. resolve conflicts in family relationships;
  2. cope with family separation;
  3. identify family strengths to help members meet challenges;
  4. maintain relationships with family members through visits and shared activities;
  5. prepare for return to the family, if appropriate;
  6. participate in family and neighborhood activities; and
  7. connect with ongoing, post-discharge support services.


WT 6.03

When operating in remote sites, the organization:
  1. receives and transmits emergency messages from family members or the responsible placing organization to youth or personnel; and 
  2. immediately informs sender if this cannot be done promptly.
NA The organization does not operate in remote sites.