Private Organization Accreditation

Family Services of Southeast Texas strengthens families through accessible, affordable counseling services and education for issues affecting family life, mental health and employment.  We also provide comprehensive domestic violence shelter and support services.


Jane Bonk, Ph.D., LCSW

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

Dr. Jane Bonk is a team leader, evaluator, and commissioner who has led over 25 site visits for COA.
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Adoption Services establish a permanent family for children and youth awaiting adoption, and increase the well-being and functioning of birth parents, adoptive families, and adopted individuals.

AS 9: Placement

The organization identifies adoptive families who can meet the needs of waiting children and facilitates timely placements.


  • Revised Interpretation - 10/31/17

Interpretation: An organization that has responsibility for placing an American Indian or Alaska Native child should work closely with the child’s tribe to identify adoptive homes within the tribal community. Families from all tribes to which the child has ties should be considered as placement options, and eligibility should be consistent with the norms of the tribe.

Note: Foster Care to Adoption programs will implement FKC 6 and AS 9.

NA The organization provides homestudy services only.

NA The organization provides post placement services only.

Rating Indicators
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 (HR 6.02) and training (TS 2.03); 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
  • A number of client records are missing important information  or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • One of the Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.
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; or  
  • Two or more Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Matching and placement procedures
    • Procedures for involving expectant/birth parents, when applicable
    • A description of assistance provided to adoptive parents during placement
    • Documentation of tribal participation in placement process, when applicable
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Parents
      4. Children
    • Review case records

  • AS 9.01

    A process that examines the child’s needs and interests, and the prospective adoptive parents’ interpersonal and parenting skills, identifies an adoptive family that:

    1. is most suitable to meet the child’s needs; and
    2. can advance the child’s best interests.

    Interpretation: Children are encouraged to participate in the decision-making process to the greatest extent possible given their age and developmental level.

  • AS 9.02

    The child’s and prospective family’s religious, cultural, racial, linguistic, and ethnic identities are considered when identifying a family, provided such consideration:

    1. does not delay placement of the child for adoption;
    2. is in the best interest of the child; and
    3. is consistent with applicable legal requirements.

    Interpretation: Organizations should follow guidelines set forth in the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act.

    Research Note: The original language in the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) was updated by the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 to eliminate confusion about whether race, color, or national origin could be considered in making placement decisions. These amendments, known as Removal of Barriers to Interethnic Adoption, explicitly state that they have no effect on placement preferences for Indian children under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The protection granted under ICWA is based upon the child’s political affiliation to the tribe and this is distinct and separate from the racial classifications outlined in the amendments.

  • AS 9.03

    The organization takes into account, whenever feasible and appropriate, birth parents’ expressed desires regarding the child’s placement, and when this consideration can delay placement, the organization:

    1. acts in accordance with applicable law;
    2. tries to resolve the conflict in the best interest of an expeditious and permanent placement; and
    3. promptly seeks legal counsel regarding resolution of such differences, if necessary.

  • AS 9.04

    Prospective adoptive parents are provided with sufficient information and time to make an informed decision about the placement, and assurance that the child is legally available for adoption.

    Interpretation: Information includes all available non-identifying child and birth parent information, and information about the general circumstances leading to the decision to place the child for adoption. Prospective adoptive parents should be given sufficient time to comprehend large amounts of information about a child. If the organization develops a process to share information over time with parents, it should carefully consider what information must be shared prior to the decision to adopt. Intentional misrepresentation or concealment and negligent disclosure or withholding of information can put the organization at risk for wrongful adoption lawsuits. Practices that may limit exposure to liability include: informing prospective adoptive parents of limits on information gathering and disclosure, provision of information in writing, and training staff on procedures for collecting and disclosing information.

    Research Note: Literature suggests that adoptions are more successful when adoptive parents have realistic expectations about the adopted child. This is of particular importance for children with special needs or children at greater risk for disruption.

  • AS 9.05

    When a child is placed prior to termination of parental rights, the organization:

    1. informs the prospective adoptive parents of the substantial risks involved and limitations on confidentiality;
    2. requires written agreements between the organization and the prospective adoptive parents, stating the mutual intention that the adoption take place, if legal matters are resolved; and
    3. makes diligent efforts to remove barriers to the adoption.


    • Added Note - 10/31/17
      A note was added regarding informing prospective adoptive parents about the impact of the Indian Child Welfare Act. 

    Interpretation: This standard does not apply in the case of tribal customary adoption, as adjudicated or approved within tribal court, when parental rights will not be terminated.

    Note: When the placement involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child, prospective adoptive parents are informed about the Indian Child Welfare Act and its implications for the adoption of the child. 

    NA The organization does not place children prior to the termination of parental rights.

  • AS 9.06

    The child is placed as soon as the family and child are prepared, and adoptive parents receive assistance:

    1. with the child’s transition to the home;
    2. obtaining available subsidies and medical insurance for the child;
    3. obtaining resources for the child’s special needs; and
    4. completing the legal adoption.

  • AS 9.07

    American Indian and Alaska Native children are placed according to the placement preferences specified in the Indian Child Welfare Act.


    • Revised Standard - 10/31/17
      An interpretation was added with greater guidance for placing American Indian and Alaska Native children per ICWA requirements. 

    Interpretation: When the organization is working with American Indian and Alaska Native children and families, tribal representatives and service providers must be involved in placement decisions and placement changes in order to ensure compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, which requires that preference be given to families in the following order:

    1. a member of the child’s extended family;
    2. families who are members of the child’s tribe; and
    3. other American Indian or Alaska Native families. 
    Alternative placement preferences established by the child’s tribe may apply, and the court may also take into consideration the preferences of the child or his/her birth parents. 

    Research Note: As evidence of compliance with these placement preferences, a record of each placement must be maintained by the state in which the placement was made. These records should be made available upon request of the United States Secretary of Interior or the Indian child’s tribe.

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