2022 Edition

Group Living Services (CA-GLS) 17: Care and Supervision

The organization provides 24-hour-a-day care and supervision that is respectful, supportive, and tailored to each resident’s developmental, educational, clinical, and safety needs and attentive to effects of congregate living.




Group Living Services allow individuals who need additional support to regain, maintain, and improve life skills and functioning in a safe, stable, community-based living arrangement.
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
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation 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
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
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.,
  • 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
  • Resident/personnel care and supervision ratios
  • Supervision and scheduling criteria
  • Procedures for preventing and responding to missing and runaway children
  • Educational or training materials provided to residents for skills development
  • Resident/personnel care and supervision coverage schedules for the previous six months
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Residents
  • Review case records

Fundamental Practice

CA-GLS 17.01

Individuals that provide direct care and supervision offer residents:
  1. nurturance, structure, support, respect, and active involvement;
  2. services provided in a safe, secure environment that prohibits weapons and gang activity;
  3. predictable limit-setting;
  4. flexibility, when appropriate and in the resident’s best interest; and
  5. guided practice to learn effective communication, positive social interaction, and problem solving skills.
Examples: This approach can help to anticipate, prevent, and reduce the occurrence of bullying and other unsafe or negative peer interactions.

Examples: Regarding element (d), being flexible with codified rules that contradict a resident’s best interest can allow the organization to provide individualized care that is tailored to the resident’s needs. For example, being flexible with bedtimes for a resident who may have experienced nighttime trauma rather than strictly enforcing a lights out time allows the organization to be responsive to the needs of residents.

Fundamental Practice

CA-GLS 17.02

Resident care and supervision is provided by:
  1. personnel-to-resident ratios for day time and overnight hours that are appropriate to the program model, length of treatment, population served, and their age, developmental and clinical needs;
  2. a sufficient number of qualified personnel on-site to respond to emergency/crisis situations and meet special needs of residents during busy or more stressful periods;
  3. an on-call, professional clinical staff member available on a 24-hour basis;
  4. rotating after-hours and holiday coverage when needed; and
  5. same-gender and cross gender supervision when indicated by individual treatment needs.


The organization must demonstrate that based on their program model and the population served their staffing ratios for day time and overnight coverage are addressing potential risks and meeting the needs of their residents.


The organization may use direct care workers or counsellors to provide supervision to residents. Personnel must be awake at all times unless convincing evidence demonstrates the resident group does not need awake supervision during sleeping hours. Examples of reasons certain homes or programs might not have awake personnel are: care for a long-term, stable population; majority of unit residents are ready to move to a less restrictive setting; low runaway rates; and low rates of night-time incidents. Electronic supervision is not an acceptable alternative to supervision by personnel.


Regarding element (c) the professional clinical staff person is permitted to sleep during sleeping hours.
Examples: National recommendations for the supervision of children in residential care is that there are no more than four children per worker during waking hours and no more than eight children per worker during overnight hours. Additionally, several sources indicate that improved outcomes, including better engagement and retention, are found in substance use programs with low staffing ratios. For example, low staff-to-resident ratios contribute to a high level of service and keeping people involved in rehabilitation for longer periods, which helps individuals reach their recovery goals.


CA-GLS 17.03

The organization establishes procedures for preventing and responding to missing and runaway children that address:
  1. creating an environment that provides a sense of safety, support, and community;
  2. identifying risks or triggers that may indicate likeliness to run away from programs;
  3. communication and reporting to relevant staff, authorities, and parents or legal guardians; and
  4. welcoming, screening, and debriefing when children return to the program.
NA The organization does not serve children or families with children.