What guidance is there from accrediting bodies on congregate care staffing?

Guidance from Accrediting Bodies

Many states and organizations are adjusting their staffing practices during this time, but have concerns about what is allowed by their accrediting body. Some accrediting bodies have issued guidance, recognizing that changes will be necessary.

Impact of staffing waivers on funding

There are no federal requirements that are tied to funding for staffing of congregate care facilities. However, accrediting bodies may have additional requirements.

If we issue staffing waivers for congregate care facilities, will we still qualify for federal funding?

"We really don't have any federal requirements in our child welfare laws about staffing for congregate care facilities. So there's nothing there for us at this level to actually be waiving for states, and we would certainly encourage states to consider whether or not any kind of waivers like that might affect licensing or accreditation of those facilities. As you know, all childcare facilities out there must be licensed in order to claim Title IV-E for a child that's placed in that kind of facility and there is one type of facility under the Family First Act, a Qualified Residential Treatment placement, that has to be accredited. I believe that the accrediting bodies themselves probably have staffing ratios that would be applicable to those states. You would need to consider that but just once again, we don't have federal requirements that are tied to funding for particular staff ratios here."

— Dr. Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau, ACF, March 19, 2020 (source)

Accrediting Organizations

COA - Council on Accreditation

“COA is aware there are many factors regarding COVID-19 that will influence an organization’s regular day-to-day practices and may impact implementation of the standards. We are recommending that organizations consult and follow guidance from federal-, state-, and/or local-level health authorities and make decisions that put the health and safety of clients, families, communities, and staff first. There will be situations where altering regular practices will be necessary to avoid putting others at risk and to continue to make needed services available.”


CARF - Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities

“CARF understands that organizations are facing unprecedented challenges because of this public health crisis and will work with organizations to move through this unique situation together. CARF remains operational during regular business hours to ensure continued support of accredited programs and programs seeking accreditation. Please contact your organization's assigned resource specialist to assist with any necessary adjustments to accreditation timeframes or any other support your organization may need.“


Other Organizations:

  • TJC - The Joint Commission: curating tools and resources to support health care professionals on the front lines of this pandemic.

  • EAGLE Accreditation: no known updates.

  • TFA - Teaching-Family Association: no known updates.

Anything else?

If your questions are not answered here, please tell us more: Share an obstacle →