HSO Releases Two Revised Standards Supporting Child, Youth and Family Services and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

November 23, 2017 (OTTAWA) – After 16 months of consultation with patients and families, experts and policy makers, Health Standards Organization (HSO) released its first two revised standards that will help organizations assist children, their families, and those living with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities provide quality care and help managing their lives leading to positive outcomes.

The children and families who become involved in the child welfare system may be facing challenging circumstances. The proper management of these issues requires a multidisciplinary approach, which not only involves several different disciplines but also, different organizations. It is important for lines of communication to remain open between child welfare organizations and community support programs to ensure that the children are receiving the best quality of care in a timely manner.

The Child, Youth, and Family Services Standard ensures that the voice of the child or youth is heard, acknowledged and respected to the greatest extent possible when accessing services that can range from addressing maltreatment, mental health, violence in the home, trauma, justice and substance abuse. The standard is vital to ensuring organizations meet the quality and safety expected by patients and their families.

Many developmental and intellectual disabilities originate before the age of 18. Intellectual and developmental disabilities affect cognitive, behavioural, and/ or psychosocial functioning and can affect the quality of life of a person, including their social inclusion, education, employment, and housing. Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities need support and services to achieve a good quality of life and social inclusion, and be empowered to be the drivers of their lives and health care journeys, to the extent they wish.

There are a wide range of community programs and services that are needed to support those with developmental or intellectual disabilities from early identification, to developmental skill building, vocal, social and housing support to counselling and behavioural management. The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services Standard will guide organizations, helping to inform programs and interventions, enhancing quality and safety, and ensuring organizations are responsive, respectful and inclusive to the individuals needs.

While the standards are available for immediate purchase, download and review, they will be available for assessment bodies to start using in January 2019.

Attend a free information session – Learn more about the new standards

 Information sessions on these standards will be held by HSO in the new year. Sign up for the HSO To Go newsletter below to be notified when registration for these sessions opens and to receive updates on these standards including public reviews, learning events and more.


Quick Facts About How HSO Develops Standards:

  • HSOs Technical Committees bring together people from diverse backgrounds to develop world class standards that shape the future of health services around the world.
  • Technical Committee members are comprised of patients and families, product users, those with subject matter expertise, and policy makers.
  • The Child, Youth and Family Services Standard will help organizations supporting children and families who may be facing abuse and neglect, mental health, child developmental risk, violence in the home, intergenerational trauma, family dysfunction, loss of family-community connections, psycho-social functioning, youth justice, and substance abuse.
  • The Intellectual and Developmental Disability Standard is intended for use by client organizations that offer support and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities which includes but is not limited to autism spectrum disorder, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and Down syndrome (Trisomy 21).
  • The public can comment on the standard at any time and all comments will be addressed. To submit a comment for consideration, click here.

Quotes from our Technical Committee Members:

“The new Child, Youth and Family Services Standards just created through major consultation efforts within Health Standards Organization is remarkable for a few reasons.

For decades, Accreditation Canada has focused on health care and hospital quality – with major success. Transference of these same skills into the realms of child protection, family focus, children’s mental health and community-based child and family serving agencies is a new foray for them. This focus is much needed now as challenges managing children’s mental health are increasing. These standards are comprehensive and show both the diverse needs of children, youth and families and the wide variety of excellent services being offered to them across the country. Kudos to Health Standards Organization for stepping outside their comfort zone and developing a top-notch product that can be used by many.”

– Jane Matheson, Technical Committee Member, Child, Youth and Family Services Standard

“I am really grateful to have contributed to the efforts put in updating this standard. 

In my opinion, the committee worked hard to develop a standard that prioritized the needs of people with developmental disabilities. More importantly, we strived to ensure that the interests, opinions, and life goals of people with developmental disabilities are closely listened to and accounted for. As a Mom of 2 young men who have autism, I often worry my sons’ individual voices would ever be heard. I am happy knowing that professionals in health and social service agencies across the country will have access to a standard that proposes this kind of “best practice” and am quite pleased to know that I had some sort of impact in this process.”

– Diana Lombardi, Technical Committee Member, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Service Standard


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