2022 Edition

Group Living Services (CA-GLS) 3: Access to Service

The organization provides access to services for children, youth, and adults whose personal, social, developmental, or family situations would benefit from the group living environment or preclude them from living at home or in a more independent setting.




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
  • Admission procedures
  • Eligibility criteria
  • Materials outlining permitted and prohibited items
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Residents and their families
  • Review case records


CA-GLS 3.01

The organization defines in writing:
  1. eligibility criteria, including age, developmental stage, and populations served;
  2. scope of services, special areas of expertise, and the range of resident issues addressed; and
  3. how the facility promotes living-unit compatibility based on age, interests, and group composition.


In regards to element (c), COA recognizes that organizations, particularly those that receive residents through referrals only, may have limited control of group composition. In these instances, the organization should identify the population(s) served, state how residents’ diverse service needs will be met, and include strategies for promoting living-unit compatibility when possible.


CA-GLS 3.02

The resident and his or her family and/or legal guardian are engaged in the admission and placement process to prepare for admission, and are given the opportunity for a pre-admission visit, whenever possible.


CA-GLS 3.03

The organization describes:
  1. personal items residents may bring with them, consistent with a safe, therapeutic setting;
  2. items that are discouraged or prohibited; and
  3. any safety procedures the program follows, or consequences that can result, when prohibited items are brought to the program site.


Given the rise in information and communication technologies, organizations must specify in their admission materials what electronic devices are permitted and prohibited.
Examples: Personal items residents may bring with them may include, for example, photos, books, cellphones, computers, or other electronics.