2022 Edition

Residential Treatment Services (CA-RTX) 2: Personnel

Program personnel have the competency and support needed to provide services and meet the needs of residents and their families.


Competency can be demonstrated through education, training, or experience. Support can be provided through supervision or other learning activities to improve understanding or skill development in specific areas.




Residential Treatment Services provide individualized therapeutic interventions and a range of services, including education for residents to increase productive and pro-social behaviour, improve functioning and well-being, and return to a stable living arrangement in the community.
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.,  
  • With some exceptions, staff (direct service providers, supervisors, and program managers) possess the required qualifications, including education, experience, training, skills, temperament, etc., but the integrity of the service is not compromised; or
  • Supervisors provide additional support and oversight, as needed, to the few staff without the listed qualifications; or 
  • Most staff who do not meet educational requirements are seeking to obtain them; or 
  • With few exceptions, staff have received required training, including applicable specialized training; or
  • Training curricula are not fully developed or lack depth; or
  • Training documentation is consistently maintained and kept up-to-date with some exceptions; or
  • A substantial number of supervisors meet the requirements of the standard, and the organization provides training and/or consultation to improve competencies when needed; or
  • With few exceptions, caseload sizes are consistently maintained as required by the standards or as required by internal policy when caseload has not been set by a standard; or
  • Workloads are such that staff can effectively accomplish their assigned tasks and provide quality services and are adjusted as necessary; or
  • Specialized services are obtained as required by the standards.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.  Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • A significant number of staff (direct service providers, supervisors, and program managers) do not possess the required qualifications, including education, experience, training, skills, temperament, etc.; and as a result, the integrity of the service may be compromised; or
  • Job descriptions typically do not reflect the requirements of the standards, and/or hiring practices do not document efforts to hire staff with required qualifications when vacancies occur; or 
  • Supervisors do not typically provide additional support and oversight to staff without the listed qualifications; or
  • A significant number of staff have not received required training, including applicable specialized training; or
  • Training documentation is poorly maintained; or
  • A significant number of supervisors do not meet the requirements of the standard, and the organization makes little effort to provide training and/or consultation to improve competencies; or
  • There are numerous instances where caseload sizes exceed the standards' requirements or the requirements of internal policy when a caseload size is not set by the standard; or
  • Workloads are excessive, and the integrity of the service may be compromised; or 
  • Specialized staff are typically not retained as required and/or many do not possess the required qualifications; or
  • Specialized services are infrequently obtained as required by the standards.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • List of program personnel that includes:
    • Title
    • Name
    • Employee, volunteer, or independent contractor
    • Degree or other qualifications
    • Time in current position
  • See organizational chart submitted during application
  • Table of contents of training curricula
  • Sample job descriptions from across relevant job categories
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of required trainings and/or competencies
  • Training curricula
  • Caseload size requirements set by policy, regulation, or contract, when applicable
  • Documentation of current caseload size per worker
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
  • Review personnel files


CA-RTX 2.01

Residential counsellors, youth workers, adult care, and child care workers have:
  1. diploma or degree or are actively, continuously pursuing a diploma or degree;
  2. the personal characteristics and experience to collaborate with and provide appropriate care to residents, gain their respect, guide their development, and participate in their overall treatment program;
  3. the ability to support constructive resident-family visitation and resident involvement in community activities;
  4. the temperament to work with, and care for, children, youth, adults, or families with special needs, as appropriate; and
  5. the ability to work effectively with the treatment team and other internal and external stakeholders.


The elements of the standard will be considered together to assess implementation. Recruitment of staff with demonstrated competence and with appropriate supervision and specialized training can compensate for a lack of a diploma or degree.
Examples: Experience per element (b) can include lived experience as residential programs can have peer support specialists, youth advocates, mentors, and/or family advocates on staff.


CA-RTX 2.02

Supervisors of direct service personnel are qualified by: 
  1. an advanced degree in social work or a comparable human service field and two years of relevant experience; or
  2. a bachelor’s degree in social work or a comparable human service field and four or more years of relevant experience.

Fundamental Practice

CA-RTX 2.03

A physician or other qualified medical practitioner familiar with the needs of the resident population assumes 24-hour on-call medical oversight to ensure that residents’ health needs are identified and promptly addressed.


The physician can provide services as an employee, contractor, or through another formal arrangement. There may be more than one physician fulfilling the role.


COA recognizes that geographic placement and resources can pose barriers. The use of an emergency room or urgent care facility is acceptable for overnight hours when protocols are established. Organizations can also leverage alternative service delivery methods such as telehealth when regional shortages of certain professional groups make in-person consultation impractical.
NA All residents have private physicians.

Fundamental Practice

CA-RTX 2.04

A licensed psychiatrist with experience appropriate to the level and intensity of service and the population served is responsible for:
  1. developing guidelines for participation in services;
  2. providing psychiatric services, as applicable; and
  3. providing full-time coverage on an on-call basis 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


The psychiatrist can provide services as an employee, contractor, or through another formal arrangement. There may be more than one psychiatrist fulfilling the duties outlined. Residential treatment programs whose primary service is residential substance use treatment are not required to have full-time psychiatric coverage, but may provide psychiatric services though a formal referral arrangement on an as-needed basis.


In situations where a psychiatrist is not available to assume psychiatric responsibility for residents, the organization can receive a rating of 2 if they have an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) supervised by a physician.


CA-RTX 2.05

Qualified professionals and specialists are available to provide services and support depending on the program model, population served, and specialized care needs.
Examples: Examples of services and providers that may be on staff, or available through a formal arrangement, include:
  1. mental health;
  2. substance use;
  3. crisis intervention;
  4. medicine and dentistry;
  5. psychological services, such as testing and evaluation;
  6. prenatal and postnatal care, and the developmental needs of children;
  7. prenatal and postpartum depression screenings and care;
  8. nursing;
  9. education and vocational skill development;
  10. physical and developmental disabilities;
  11. speech, occupational and physical therapy;
  12. recreation and expressive therapy;
  13. nutrition; and/or
  14. religion and spirituality.

Examples: Examples of populations with specialized care needs include, but are not limited to:
  1. older adults;
  2. children and youth with pervasive developmental disorders;
  3. children and youth who engage in fire setting;
  4. individuals who exhibit sexually reactive behaviour;
  5. victims of physical, psychological or sexual abuse;
  6. LGBTQ population, especially those with gender identity issues;
  7. individuals with eating disorders; and
  8. individuals who have trouble communicating or being understood without special assistance.

Fundamental Practice

CA-RTX 2.06

There is at least one person on duty at each program site any time the program is in operation that has received first aid and age-appropriate CPR training in the previous two years that included an in-person, hands-on CPR skills assessment conducted by a certified CPR instructor.


CA-RTX 2.07

All direct service personnel are trained on, or demonstrate competency in:
  1. assessing needs in crisis situations;
  2. understanding special issues regarding age, gender identity/crisis, substance use and mental health conditions, developmental disabilities, and other needs typically presented by the service population;
  3. understanding the definitions of human trafficking (both labour and sex trafficking) and sexual exploitation, and identifying potential victims;
  4. procedures for responding to residents who run away;
  5. interventions for addressing the acute needs of victims of trauma; and
  6. collaborating with local law enforcement.


CA-RTX 2.08

Caseloads support the achievement of client outcomes, are regularly reviewed, and generally do not exceed 12 residents.


Personnel who carry a caseload include the residential treatment center's milieu counsellors, case managers, and/or child, youth, or adult care workers.
Examples: Factors that may be considered when determining caseloads include, but are not limited to:
  1. the qualifications, competencies, and experience of the worker, including the level of supervision needed;
  2. case complexity and residents’ special circumstances;
  3. age, gender, and population characteristics;
  4. case status and progress toward achievement of desired outcomes;
  5. the work and time required to accomplish assigned tasks and job responsibilities; and
  6. service volume.