Child Welfare Requirements – Understanding the applicability

How do we determine standards applicability for the different services within the child welfare program?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.

The applicability grid located in the "Standards Applicability Process(SAP)" chapter of the Behavioral Health and Human Services accreditation manual allow an agency to quickly find the services they offer, as identified in its electronic Application for Survey (E-App), and the related standards that apply.

The new child welfare requirements are also tagged with the lead in “For child welfare.” However, some of the child welfare standards are specific to service, so the agency must confirm it applies to specific services by using applicability grids, or their service profile in E-app.
The new and revised requirements for Child Welfare are designed to improve the quality and safety of care provided to individuals served and their families in settings/domains such as adoption, family preservation, foster care, kinship care, respite care, reunification and child protective services. 

The Joint Commission evaluated expert literature to determine what areas of a child welfare program held the most potential to impact key quality and safety issues. The literature review revealed that intake, assessment, reunification, trauma-informed care, and case closing were all areas that could improve quality and safety. The new requirements incorporate the latest research, leading practices, and federal regulations with the primary goal of improving quality and safety in these settings.

The Joint Commission standard requirements for adoption agencies
These can be identified by clicking on the adoption service in your service profile on E-dition and in applicability grid in the SAP chapter for adoption services. The same process of determining the applicable standards can be applied to other child welfare services such as family preservation, reunification, child protective services etc.

Pain and nutrition screening requirements
When the state department of child and family services provides foster care, adoption, reunification, and other services, and the agency is not responsible for the care plan and/or assessment, the standard applicability is determined by the services selected on E-App.
  • Agencies that provide clinical mental health services (for example, therapeutic intervention or behavioral management provided by or under supervision of a master’s prepared staff or Licensed Independent Practitioner) need to perform the required screenings.
  • Agencies that provide only non-clinical case management and care coordination services (for example, afterschool programs, parenting groups, or similar), will not need to perform these services.  
Treatment plan requirements when foster care services are based on the family case plan provided by the county/state   
The agency is not responsible for developing and re-evaluating the treatment plan if they are contracted to provide the services based on the case plan/treatment plan provided by the state/county.  The expectation is to make the relevant documentation used to inform care treatment and services available at the time of survey.  The documents from the state/county are not subject to standard requirements.

Survey requirements
The agency is expected to comply with the standard requirements applicable to the services they are contracted to provide. If they state does not allow the agency to develop any of the key case files, the agency must make a copy of the relevant documents such as the contract, assessment and/or case plan provided by the state available at the time of survey.
The standard applicability is determined by the services selected on E-App. Contact your account executive for guidance of completing the E-App.  Once the services provided are identified on the E-App, applicable requirements (standards) can be viewed under the service profile on E-dition. 

Additional Resources:
Child Welfare Requirement, Rationale and Reference (R3) Report
Last updated on March 23, 2021
Manual: Behavioral Health
Chapter: Care Treatment and Services CTS

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