2022 Edition

Day Treatment Services (CA-DTX) 3: Intake and Assessment

The organization’s intake and assessment practices ensure that individuals receive prompt and responsive access to appropriate services.




Individuals who receive Day Treatment Services improve psychosocial, educational, vocational, and cognitive functioning, and learn to manage their symptoms.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.

Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,

  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • In a few rare instances, urgent needs were not prioritized; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Culturally responsive assessments are the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active participation by persons served occurs to a considerable extent.

Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,

  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Urgent needs are often not prioritized; or 
  • Services are frequently not initiated in a timely manner; or
  • Applicants are not receiving referrals, as appropriate; or 
  • Assessment and reassessment timeframes are often missed; or
  • Assessments are sometimes not sufficiently individualized; 
  • Culturally responsive assessments are not the norm, and this is not being addressed in supervision or training; or
  • Several case records are missing important information; or
  • Participation by persons served is inconsistent; or
  • Intake or assessment is done by another organization or referral source and no documentation and/or summary of required information is present in case record. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • There are no written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.  
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Screening and intake procedures
  • Assessment procedures
  • Copy of assessment tool(s)
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records


CA-DTX 3.01

Individuals are screened and informed about:

  1. how well their request matches the organization's services; and
  2. what services will be available and when.
NA Another organization is responsible for screening, as defined in a contract.

Fundamental Practice

CA-DTX 3.02

Prompt, responsive intake practices:

  1. gather information necessary to identify critical service needs and/or determine when a more intensive service is necessary;
  2. give priority to urgent needs and emergency situations;
  3. support timely initiation of services; and
  4. provide for placement on a waiting list or referral to appropriate resources when the person cannot be served or cannot be served promptly.

Examples: Regarding element b, urgent situations can include drug overdose, impairment, or severe withdrawal; pregnancy in women with opioid use disorder; people at risk of suicide; and cases where a parent has a child in the child welfare system.  

Referral providers for crisis situations may include 24-hour mobile crisis teams, emergency crisis intervention services, crisis stabilization, or 24-hour crisis hotline. 


CA-DTX 3.03

Persons served participate in an individualized, culturally and linguistically responsive assessment that is:
  1. completed within established timeframes; 
  2. updated as needed based on the needs of persons served; and
  3. focused on information pertinent for meeting service requests and objectives.


The Assessment Matrix - Private, Public, Canadian, Network determines which level of assessment is required for COA’s Service Sections. The assessment elements of the Matrix can be tailored according to the needs of specific individuals or service design.


CA-DTX 3.04

The assessment includes identification of:

  1. behavioural health needs and goals including an evaluation of mental health and substance use symptoms or disorders, their severity, and treatment history; 
  2. physical health needs and goals including a comprehensive medical history; 
  3. social, emotional, educational, and vocational needs, strengths, and goals including appropriate family goals;  
  4. barriers to change; and 
  5. a diagnosis in accordance with a standardized diagnostic tool. 

Examples: Substance use assessments may examine a variety of factors in the person’s substance use history including age at first use, routes of ingestion and history of tolerance, withdrawal, drug mixing, and overdose as well as information on current patterns of use such as which drugs the person uses, comorbid alcohol and tobacco use, and the frequency, recency, and intensity of use.