COA’s Training and Supervision standards focus on preparing incoming staff to fulfill their roles at the agency and on providing employees with ongoing opportunities for continued learning and professional development. These training opportunities, along with supportive supervision, are essential to the development of a competent workforce capable of providing services effectively. COA recognizes that staff competence can not be defined solely by supervision nor training; but instead, is a dynamic combination of both elements, along with a variety of other factors including educational background, work experience, and workload. This multi-faceted approach to competency allows agencies to respond to the individual needs of employees by providing them with the appropriate combination of training and supervision.
Interpretation: Unless otherwise indicated, the term “personnel” covers both full-time and part-time employees (paid personnel) as well as volunteers (unpaid non-employees) throughout the agency. The use of these terms is governed by the following guidelines:
- “direct service personnel” are personnel who work directly with clients, as well as the administrators or supervisors of direct services;
- direct service, clerical, professional, or management volunteers are considered to be part of an agency’s personnel and will be included in the accreditation self-study;
- if the agency does not use volunteers in its management, direct service, or any other ongoing activity, standards that only refer to volunteers do not apply to the agency; and
- COA will not consider occasional or casual volunteers in its evaluation of an agency’s compliance. For example, a volunteer who is present a few times to assist in addressing mail campaign envelopes has no ongoing role. In contrast, a volunteer custodian, cook, or secretary who works on a regularly scheduled basis has an ongoing role and will be considered in evaluating an agency’s human resource practices.
Interpretation: Network personnel can include:
- employees of the network management entity, including administrative personnel and direct service providers;
- employees of network partner agencies who provide direct network services, if the network is a membership network;
- employees of subcontracting network provider agencies; and
- independent, individual providers.
Note: Written agreements with independent contractors should include training and competency expectations that meet the requirements of the standards. The agency is responsible for regularly monitoring and evaluating the competency of contracted service providers and implementing corrective action if necessary. COA does not expect agencies to include independent contractors in their training programs; however, the agency may wish to offer training opportunities to its affiliates as a voluntary training opportunity.
Findings from studies on training and supervision are typically skill-specific and not generalizable to all services. However, the literature in all fields indicates that training and supervision are critical to providing effective services. The standards in this section are the result of merging comparable best practices in child welfare, behavioral health, and community