Basic Center Program Performance Standards
I. Background, Purpose, Goals and Objectives
The Program Performance Standards established by the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) are minimum standards for its funded basic centers. They relate to the basic program components enumerated in Section 312 of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act as reauthorized and as further detailed in Regulations and other guidance from FYSB governing the implementation of the Act. They address the methods and processes by which the needs of runaway and homeless youth and their families are being met, as opposed to the outcome of the services provided to the clients served. Nine of these standards relate to service components (outreach, individual intake process, temporary shelter, individual and group counseling, family counseling, service linkages, aftercare services, recreational programs, and case disposition), and six to administrative functions or activities (staffing and staff development, youth participation, individual client files, reporting, ongoing project planning, and board of directors/advisory body).
Although fiscal management is not included as a program performance standard, it is viewed by FYSB as being an essential element in the operation of its funded projects. Therefore, as validation visits are made, the Regional ACF youth specialist and/or staff from the Office of Fiscal Operations will also review the project's financial management activities.
The standards are designed to serve as a developmental tool for use by the project staff and the Regional ACF staff specialists in identifying those services and administrative components of projects which require strengthening through internal action on the part of staff or through the provision of external technical assistance.
II. Basic Center Program Performance Standards
The following are the program performance standards applicable to funded basic centers:
The project shall provide for continuity of services to all youth served on a temporary shelter basis and/or their families following the termination of such temporary shelter both directly and through referrals to other agencies and individuals.
Board of Directors/Advisory Body (Optional)
It is strongly recommended that the centers have a Board of Directors or Advisory Body.
- The membership of the project's Board of Directors or Advisory Body shall be composed of a representative cross-section of the community, including youth, parents, and agency representatives.
- Training shall be provided to the Board of Directors or Advisory Body designed to orient the members to the goals, objectives, and activities of the project.
- The Board of Directors or Advisory Body shall review and approve the overall goals, objectives, and activities of the project, including the written plan developed under standard 14.
The project shall determine, on an individual case basis, the disposition of each youth provided temporary shelter, and shall assure the safe arrival of each youth home or to an alternative living arrangement.
- To the extent feasible, the project shall provide for the active involvement of the youth, the parent(s) or legal guardian, and the staff in determining what living arrangement constitutes the best interest of each youth.
- The project shall assure the safe arrival of each youth home or to an alternative living arrangement, following the termination of the crisis services provided by the project, by arranging for the transportation of the youth if he/she will be residing within the area served by the project; or by arranging for the meeting and local transportation of the youth at his/her destination if he/she will be residing beyond the area served by the project.
- The project shall verify the arrival of each youth who is not accompanied home or to an alternative living arrangement by the parent(s) or legal guardian, project staff or other agency staff within 12 hours after his/her scheduled arrival at his/her destination.
The project shall make family counseling available to each parent or legal guardian and youth admitted into the project.
- Family counseling shall be provided to each parent or legal guardian and youth admitted into the project and requesting such services.
- The family counseling shall be provided by qualified staff.
Individual and Group Counseling
The project shall provide individual and/or group counseling to each youth admitted into the project.
- Individual and/or group counseling shall be available daily to each youth admitted into the project on a temporary shelter basis and requesting such counseling.
- Individual and/or group counseling shall be available to each youth admitted into the project on a non-residential basis and requesting such counseling.
- The individual and/or group counseling shall be provided by qualified staff.
Individual Client Files
The project shall maintain an individual file on each youth admitted into the project.
- The client file maintained on each youth should, at a minimum, include an intake form which minimally contains the basic background information needed by FYSB; counseling notations; information on the services provided both directly and through referrals to community agencies and individuals; disposition data; and, as applicable, any follow-up and evaluation data which are compiled by the center.
- The file on each client shall be maintained by the project in a secure place and shall not be disclosed without the written permission of the client and his/her parent(s) or legal guardian except to project staff, to the funding agency(ies) and its (their) contractor(s), and to a court involved in the disposition of criminal charges against the youth.
Individual Intake Process
The project shall conduct an individual intake process with each youth seeking services from the project. The individual intake process shall provide for:
- Direct access to project services on a 24-hour basis.
- The identification of the emergency service needs of each youth and the provision of the appropriate services either directly or through referrals to community agencies and individuals.
- An explanation of the services which are available and the requirements for participation, and the securing of a voluntary commitment from each youth to participate in project services prior to admitting the youth into the project.
- The recording of basic background information on each youth admitted into the project.
- The assignment of primary responsibility to one staff member for coordinating the services provided to each youth.
- The contact of the parent(s) or legal guardian of each youth provided temporary shelter within the timeframe established by State law or, in the absence of State requirements, preferably within 24 but within no more than 72 hours following the youth's admission into the project.
Ongoing Center Planning
The center shall develop a written plan at least annually.
- At least annually, the project shall review the crisis counseling, temporary shelter, and aftercare needs of the youth in the area served by the center and the existing services which are available to meet these needs.
- The project shall conduct an ongoing evaluation of the impact of its services on the youth and families it serves.
- At least annually, the project shall review and revise, as appropriate, its goals, objectives, and activities based upon the data generated through both the review of youth needs and existing services (13a) and the follow-up evaluations (13b).
- The project's planning process shall be open to all paid and volunteer staff, youth, and members of the Board of Directors and/or Advisory Body.
The project shall conduct outreach efforts directed towards community agencies, youth and parents based on a written plan that takes diversity into consideration.
Periodic Reports to the Secretary, HHS
The project shall meet its data reporting requirements via the Runaway and Homeless Youth Management Information System (RHYMIS) or in an approved form which RHYMIS can receive and shall submit reports as required by FYSB, including an annual report for the Secretary of HHS no later than 3 months after the end of each year in which federal RHY funds were received.
- The report to the Secretary shall include information regarding the activities carried out with RHY funds, the achievements of the project carried out by the applicant and statistical summaries describing the number and the characteristics of the runaway and homeless youth and youth at risk of family separation who participate in such project, and the services provided to such youth by such project, in the year for which the report is submitted.
- The project shall submit timely and complete program and financial reports, and data reports under RHYMIS requirements, according to the instructions of FYSB.
The project shall provide a recreational/leisure time schedule of activities for youth admitted to the project for residential care.
The project shall establish and maintain linkages with community agencies and individuals for the provision of those services which are required by youth and/or their families but which are not provided directly by the centers.
- Arrangements shall be made with community agencies and individuals for the provision of alternative living arrangements, medical services, psychological and/or psychiatric services, and the other assistance required by youth admitted into the project and/or by their families which are not provided directly by the project.
- Specific efforts shall be conducted by the project directed toward establishing working relationships with law enforcement and other juvenile justice system personnel.
Staffing and Staff Development
Each center is required to develop and maintain a plan for staffing and staff development.
- The project shall operate under an affirmative action plan.
- The project shall maintain a written staffing plan which indicates the number of paid and volunteer staff in each job category.
- The project shall maintain a written job description for each paid and volunteer staff function which describes both the major tasks to be performed and the qualifications required.
- The project shall provide training to all paid and volunteer staff (including youth) in both the procedures employed by the project and in specific skill areas as determined by the project.
- The project shall evaluate the performance of each paid and volunteer staff member on a regular basis.
- Case supervision sessions, involving relevant project staff, shall be conducted at least weekly to review current cases and the types of counseling and other services which are being provided.
The project shall provide temporary shelter and food to each youth admitted into the project and requesting such services.
- Each facility in which temporary shelter is provided shall be in compliance with State and local licensing requirements.
- Each facility in which temporary shelter is provided shall accommodate at least 4 youth and no more than 20.
- Temporary shelter funded by the Basic Center program shall not be provided for a period exceeding 15 days during a youth's given stay at the project.
- Each facility in which temporary shelter is provided shall ensure nutritional needs are met as appropriate for individual youth.
- At least one adult shall be on the premises whenever youth are using the temporary shelter facility.
- The shelter shall maintain a ratio of staff to youth that is sufficient to ensure adequate supervision and treatment.
The center shall actively involve youth in the design and delivery of the services provided by the project.
- Youth shall be involved in the ongoing planning efforts conducted by the project.
- Youth shall be involved in the delivery of the services provided by the project.