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.


Children's Foundation of Mid America

James W. Thurman, President/CEO

Children’s Foundation of Mid America has been accredited through COA since 1983. The process of accreditation ensures that we meet or exceed the highest standards in the industry.
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Group Living Services allow individuals who need additional support to regain, maintain, and improve life skills and functioning in a safe, stable, community-based living arrangement.

GLS 5: Service Planning and Monitoring

Residents and their families participate in the development and ongoing review of a service plan that is the basis for delivery of appropriate services and supports.

Interpretation: While a service plan may conform to a uniform format, plan content will be individualized through collaboration with the resident and, as appropriate, a parent or guardian and/or legal advocate. 

Interpretation: Organizations should make all attempts to involve family members in the service planning process; however, when such efforts are unsuccessful, such as when the organization is working with children or youth with limited family connections, unaccompanied alien children, or adults who does not wish to maintain family contact, the resident should be actively engaged in the development of the service plan.  

Interpretation: When the organization is working with Indian children and families, tribal or local Indian representatives must be included in the service planning process and culturally relevant resources available through or recommended by the tribe or local Indian organizations should be considered when developing the service plan.

Research Note: Working collaboratively with residents and soliciting their perspective on service planning is critical in ensuring that services are provided in a trauma-informed and culturally sensitive manner. 

Research Note: Research suggests that the development of a comprehensive family-driven service plan, which addresses family relationships, decision-making, goal setting, and communications can improve recovery outcomes for those receiving services in a residential program.

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
  • In a few instances client or staff signatures are missing and/or not dated; 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
  • In a number of instances client or staff signatures are missing and/or not dated (RPM 7.04); or
  • Quarterly reviews are not being done consistently; or
  • Level of care for some clients is inappropriate; or
  • Service planning is often done without full client participation; or
  • Appropriate family involvement is not documented; or
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing; or
  • Assessments are done by referral source and no documentation and/or summary of required information present in case record; 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
    • Service planning and monitoring procedures, including strategies for active resident and family participation in service planning  
    • Service plan form/template
    • Documentation of case review
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Residents
    • Review case records

  • GLS 5.01

    A service plan is developed in a timely manner with full participation of the resident and their family, and expedited service planning is available when crisis or urgent need is identified.

    Interpretation: Service planning is conducted so that the resident retains as much personal responsibility and self-determination as possible and/or desired. Residents with limited ability in making independent choices due to developmental age or other circumstances receive assistance in learning how to make decisions. When the resident is a minor, or an adult under the care of a guardian, the organization should follow applicable state laws or regulations requiring involvement or consent of residents’ legal guardians.

  • GLS 5.02

    A family-driven service plan is developed with the participation of the resident’s family and/or significant others as agreed to by:
    1. a parent and/or legal guardian when the resident is a minor; or
    2. the resident, when he or she is an adult not under the care of a guardian.

    Interpretation: The service plan addresses, as appropriate, matters that have a direct bearing on safety, a permanent living arrangement, and well-being, including: family strengths, unmet family service and support needs, family relationships, siblings, other family members in care, and the person’s need for family and other informal network supports in their community.

    Interpretation: Safety concerns for victims of human trafficking often do not end when they are admitted to residential settings. The organization should work with the victim to develop a safety plan that focuses on increasing physical safety by securing needed documents, property, and services; maintaining the residence’s location in confidence or restricting access by certain individuals; and linking efficiently to law enforcement, if needed. Psychological safety should also be prioritized as the emotional effects of trauma – mistrust, anxiety, depression, panic disorder, etc. – can be persistent and overwhelming for victims.

  • GLS 5.03

    The service plan is based on the assessment and includes:
    1. agreed upon goals, strengths, desired outcomes, and timeframes for achieving them;
    2. services and supports to be provided, and by whom; and
    3. the signature of the resident and/or legal guardian.

    Interpretation: Engagement strategies, including building rapport, establishing trust, and promoting physical and psychological safety, are critical when working with victims of trauma to facilitate the development of realistic goals in an empowering and trauma-informed manner.

  • GLS 5.04

    The service plan addresses, as appropriate and with the consent of the resident:
    1. unmet service and support needs;
    2. possibilities for maintaining and strengthening family relationships; and
    3. the need for the support of the resident’s informal social network.

  • GLS 5.05

    The treatment team, resident and, when appropriate, his or her family participates in a documented quarterly review of the service plan to assess:
    1. service plan implementation;
    2. progress toward achieving service goals and desired outcomes; 
    3. the continuing appropriateness of the service goals; and
    4. the need to revise, cancel or add new goals and/or objectives.

    Interpretation: In regards to documentation, any revisions to the service plan or service goals should be signed by a member of the treatment team and the resident or a parent and/or legal guardian when the resident is a minor.

    Interpretation: Service plans are reviewed more frequently for young children and as acute needs and contractual requirements dictate. Timeframes for service plan reviews should be adjusted depending upon: issues and needs of persons receiving services; frequency and intensity of services provided; changes in residents’ life situations or psychological conditions; and frequency of contact with informal caregivers and cooperating providers.

  • GLS 5.06

    Extended family members and significant others, as appropriate and with the consent of the individual, may be invited to participate in case conferences and advised of ongoing progress.

    Interpretation: For children and youth, family members or legal guardian should always be involved in case conferences and advised of ongoing progress. 

    Interpretation: The organization facilitates the participation of extended family and significant others by, for example, helping arrange transportation, utilizing web-based technologies and other electronic communications, or including them in scheduling decisions.

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