Depending on the type of service or services that a person plans to purchase, the following factors may be relevant in assessing the capacity of a private entity to provide quality services:

The agency’s licensing and accreditation status

  • Is the agency fully licensed and compliant with all licensing requirements? Licensing should be considered a MUST. An agency’s license may be verified with the State’s licensing authority.
  • Is the agency accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Children and Family Services? Accreditation may or may not be a qualifying factor, depending on the agency, the services sought, and other indicators of the agency’s quality of services. Many small community-based agencies that provide excellent services, for example, may lack resources to pursue accreditation.

History of providing relevant services

  • How long has the agency been providing services?
  • How long has the agency provided the desired services?
  • How do the desired services fit within the agency’s mission and current array of services? Are the services central to the agency’s mission and operations or relatively recent “add ons”?

Community perceptions of quality of services provided: Is the agency viewed as:

  • A quality service provider?
  • Responsive to the needs of diverse communities?
  • Culturally competent?
  • Open to consumer and community feedback in order to improve its services?


  • Who provides services for the agency? Does the State have requirements for private agency educational credentials and experience? If so, does the staff meet these requirements?
  • Can the agency serve the needs of all families and children who are referred?
  • Does the agency have the capacity to understand the needs of the individual child for whom services are needed?
  • Has the agency’s staff been trained in the dynamics of child abuse and neglect and do they clearly understand their responsibility to place child safety above all other considerations and to report suspected or verified child abuse or neglect?

Organizational stability

  • What is the quality of organizational leadership? How stable has the executive leadership of the organization been?
  • Is staffing, particularly social work staffing, stable or is turnover an issue? 18

Fiscal strengths

  • Is the organization financially stable? Can the organization provide audits, annual reports or other documents that demonstrate that it is on sound financial footing and can provide services for the life of the contract?
  • Does the agency have the ability to provide reports on actual cost of service provision?

Ability to effectively manage contracts

  • Does the agency currently have contracts with other public agencies or with other States?
  • Has the agency successfully managed contracts in the past? Is it managing contracts currently?


Processes that can provide information on the quality of services

  • Does the agency track outcomes for the clients it serves?
  • Does it have the capacity to track outcomes for the clients served under a purchase of adoption services contract?
  • Does the agency ask its clients about their satisfaction with the services that the agency provides? If so, what have been the results?


  • Can the agency provide references from agencies for which it has provided contracted services?