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5.0 Assessor Qualifications and Service Standards for the Assessment of Support Needs

Applicable to: Application Entities
Legislative Authority for Policy Directive:
Sections 7(2) 2ii, 7(2) 2iii
Function of Application Entity under the Act:
Section 17 (1)(a)
Effective Date:
August 15, 2013

Purpose

The purpose of this policy directive is to ensure provincially-consistent information gathering by Application Entities so that decisions and planning for Ministry-funded adult developmental services and supports are based on accurate information on the needs, priorities and circumstances of persons determined to have developmental disabilities in accordance with the Act.

Policy

Application Entities shall implement a provincially-consistent process for assessing the support needs of applicants eligible for Ministry-funded adult developmental services and supports in accordance with the Act, to be administered by qualified assessors.

Directive

The Application Entity shall assign responsibility to qualified assessors for the administration of the Application Package to collect data on the support needs, priorities and circumstances of persons with developmental disabilities. The Application Package consists of the Application for Developmental Services and Supports (ADSS) and the Supports Intensity Scale® (SIS®).

The Application Entity shall ensure that the Application Package data is collected, stored and maintained accurately and consistently and meets the quality standards required by the Ministry as set out by the assessor training and data quality assurance program.

The Application Entity shall provide for assessors to participate in ongoing Ministry-led assessor training and data quality assurance events, and ensure that they adhere to and maintain the provincially-consistent standard for assessing and reporting support needs as set out in this directive.

  • A support needs assessment is valid and complete only when conducted by an assessor who has successfully completed the Ministry's assessor training and data quality assurance program within the last 18 months. 

Required Qualifications and Competencies for Assessors

The Application Entity shall ensure that assessors who administer the Application Package have the following qualifications:

  • completed formal education of an undergraduate degree or equivalent, in a field related to human services (such as psychology, sociology, or social work); 4
  • a minimum of five years recent experience working directly in the field of developmental services, or equivalent experience working in an occupation related to human services;5
  • experience in intake, case management, service coordination, direct support and/or advocacy roles; and
  • successfully completed training on the administration of the Application Package through the Ministry’s assessor trainer and data quality assurance program.

Assessors shall meet the following ongoing training and experience requirements to ensure that their skills continue to meet the Ministry's standards:

  • Successfully complete interviewer reliability reviews through the Ministry’s assessor training and data quality assurance program every 18 months; and
  • Frequent and ongoing administration of the Application Package with applicants. As a best practice, full-time assessors should administer at least 36 Application Packages in the 18-month period between each successful completion of the interviewer reliability review through the Ministry's assessor trainer and data quality assurance program.
  • Part-time, secondment, and/or contract assessors as a best practice should administer at least two Application Packages during each month of employment with the Application Entity, following successful completion of the interviewer reliability review.
  • Assessors who return from a leave of absence greater than four months are required to attend a monitoring session with a trainer before resuming administration of the Application Package.

Assessors should also demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Strong interview skills, good active listening ability, comfortable rapport with people of all abilities, and a good sense of when additional inquiry/questioning is required to clarify ambiguity; and
  • A person-centred approach to facilitation, ability to focus the discussion on the support needs and priorities of the individual, and ability to identify nuanced differences between the priorities of the individual and those of other care providers.

The Application Entity shall also ensure that assessors who administer the Application Package are independent from direct provision of developmental services (are not employed in a service agency that delivers residential services and supports or community participation services and supports under the authority of the Act).

Service Standards for the Assessment Process (Application Package Administration)

The Application Entity shall establish and maintain the following service standards for assessors to follow in administering the Application Package:

  • Information about an applicant may only be collected after the applicant has been informed, and understood the purpose of information collection and sharing in accordance with the Act;
  • Administration of the Application Package shall involve two semi-structured interviews held by an assessor6 with the eligible applicant and at least one but no more than four respondents, following the approach described in the assessor training and quality assurance program and the Application Package training manuals;
  • A respondent is defined as someone who has known the applicant well for at least the last three months and has had the opportunity to observe the applicant in one or more environments for substantial periods of time.  A respondent also has to be able to understand and answer all questions;
  • A respondent can be a parent, sibling, other relative, guardian, direct support staff, work supervisor, teacher, or any other individual who supports, works with, or lives with the applicant being assessed and understands the applicant and his or her specific support needs;
  • Every effort should be made by the Application Entity to ensure that the applicant is included and present at both Application Package interviews;
  • In exceptional circumstances, the applicant may attend an interview in part or the interview can be held with the applicant alone:
    • the applicant may attend an interview in part where the applicant is clearly not benefiting from the interview but wishes to complete an Application Package; or
    • the interview may be held with the applicant alone if the applicant does not have someone who knows them well for at least the last three months and/or the applicant demonstrates a strong preference to represent him/herself.
  • Only in exceptional circumstances, or if the applicant requests or requires it, should there be more than 15 business days between the first and second interview;
  • The Application Entity shall provide background information about the interviews, and the Application Package to the applicant and respondent(s) at least (10) business days before the first interview;
  • The applicant may complete certain sections of the Application Package before the interview. At the first interview, the assessor will review the applicant's pre-completed sections to confirm that the questions are clearly understood and that the responses are complete;
  • The interviews will be conducted in person, with all participants meeting at the same location or with all participants participating via video-conference technology;
  • The assessor must record a valid response for all questions included in the Application Package; and
  • The Application Entity shall reassess the support needs of persons with developmental disabilities on the wait list and those in service every five years:
    • Reassessment shall take place at five-year intervals based on the date of the last completed Application Package;
    • The Application Entity shall ensure that assessors adhere to the service standards for administering the Application Package when they conduct reassessments of the support needs of persons with developmental disabilities;
    • The reassessment will comprise completing a new Application Package, including a new ADSS and a new SIS®; and
    • If a person with a developmental disability’s support needs or personal circumstances change significantly, the Application Entity shall make arrangements for more immediate reassessment.
  • Qualified assessors may administer the Application Package with applicants from the age of sixteen who, with the exception of the age requirement, meet the criteria for Ministry-funded adult developmental services and supports in accordance with the Act.
    • Application Entities may not facilitate referrals for these applicants to Ministry-funded adult developmental services and supports until they are eighteen years of age.


4Application Entities are responsible for determining what the equivalencies are in their regional context.

5Application Entities are responsible for determining what the equivalencies are in their regional context.

6Having the same assessor conduct both interviews is a highly recommended best practice.  The applicant or their representative of choice may request that a different assessor be used for the second interview in order to expedite the completion of the Application Package, if the first assessor is not available for the second interview.