Private Organization Accreditation

HeartShare assist individuals with developmental disabilities through education, day, residential and recreation programs, case management, and health services, and provides foster care/adoption services, counseling, after school and energy assistance programs, and programs for people with HIV/AIDS.


Bonnie Bagley

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

I have found that being a COA Volunteer builds my professional skills and experience in ways that more traditional workshops do not. The opportunity to learn about best practices through the COA standards and then see how agencies implement them is truly a growth experience.
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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.

CA-AS 9: Placement

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

Notes: Foster Care to Adoption programs will implement CA-FKC 6 and CA-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 (CA-HR 6.02) and training (CA-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
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Parents
      4. Children
    • Review case records

  • CA-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 who are old enough are encouraged to participate in the decision-making process.

  • CA-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.

  • CA-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.

  • CA-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.

  • CA-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 legal and other barriers to the adoption.

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

  • CA-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.
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