Private Organization Accreditation

Heartland for Children is the not-for-profit agency responsible for the foster care system in Polk, Highlands, and Hardee Counties.


Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Inc.

Donna Mathews, Associate Director

Becoming accredited and maintaining our accreditation through COA has helped us increase our professionalism and thereby provide better services to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence survivors.
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Individuals and families who participate in Counseling, Support, and Education Services identify and build on strengths, develop skills to manage situational change, access appropriate community support and resources, and improve functioning in daily activities at home, at work, and in the community.

CSE 7: Peer Support

Services delivered by peers are strengths-focused, person-driven and encourage:  

  1. resiliency;
  2. recovery; 
  3. personal growth; 
  4. wellness; 
  5. self-efficacy; and
  6. personal choice.  

Interpretation: Peer support services are non-clinical services delivered by individuals who have lived experience. Providers of peer support (e.g., certified peer specialists, peer support specialists, recovery coaches, etc.) can serve as advocates, facilitators or coaches and are culturally competent and appropriately trained and supervised to deliver services. 

Interpretation: Recovery refers to a holistic process of change where individuals learn to overcome or manage their symptoms and conditions in order to improve overall well-being and achieve optimal health.

Research Note: Peer support services have proven effective in the areas of substance use, parenting, bereavement, chronic illness, and mental health. Research suggests that peer models increase social contacts, enhance daily functioning, and improve individuals’ sense of empowerment and hopefulness.

Research Note: Individuals affected by a loved one’s suicide or suicide attempt can experience trauma and complicated grief, often lack bereavement supports, and may experience societal stigmatization and isolation. In addition to professional mental health services, peer support services have been found to be very helpful. Similarly, research has shown that suicide attempt survivors can benefit greatly from peer support by instilling hopefulness, teaching coping skills, and counteracting shame and social isolation. Cultural differences exist in how suicide is understood and processed, which may affect individuals’ service preferences and wishes following a suicide attempt or death. 

NA The organization does not provide peer support services.

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
    • Description of peer support services
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Individuals or families served
    • Review logs, progress notes, or case records for documentation of services provided, as applicable
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