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.


Harry Hunter, MSW, MBA, Ph.D.

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

Peer Reviewer for the month of January 2013, Dr. Hunter has been volunteering for COA since 2005, conducting five site reviews.
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Individuals participating in Mentoring Services develop supportive, positive relationships that contribute to the achievement of personal, social, and educational growth.

MS 6: Mentor Orientation, Training, and Support

Mentors receive the orientation, training, support, and supervision they need to be effective role models and develop positive, lasting mentoring relationships centered on the mentee.

Note: The standards in MS 6 should be incorporated into the organization’s training and supervision system for the mentoring program (see TS 1, 2, and 3) when paid program staff are used as mentors.

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
    • Table of contents of orientation and training curricula
    • A description of how mentors are supported
    • Documentation of orientation and training
    • Orientation and training curricula
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Mentor supervisors/coordinators
      3. Mentors 
    • Review personnel and case files for mentors 

  • MS 6.01

    Mentors receive an orientation that explains:

    1. the program’s philosophy;
    2. their responsibilities to the mentee, including any health and safety responsibilities;
    3. their responsibilities to the mentee’s parent or legal guardian, as appropriate;
    4. their responsibilities to the organization;
    5. the responsibilities of the organization to the mentor; and
    6. realistic expectations for the relationship.

    Interpretation: One example of how the organization can outline responsibilities is by developing a contract between the mentor and mentee, which can serve as an effective tool for establishing mutually agreed upon boundaries and the specific role of the mentor. 

  • MS 6.02

    Mentors receive training that addresses:

    1. good mentoring practices and role modeling;
    2. communication and relationship-building;
    3. diversity and cultural awareness;
    4. building trust with mentees and mentee families
    5. establishing appropriate boundaries and setting limits with mentees and mentee families;
    6. strengths and needs of the population served; and
    7. topics relevant to working with the population served (for example, positive youth development).

    Interpretation: Training for mentors working with victims of trafficking should include an overview of trauma-informed practices, nonverbal communication cues, the cycles of change model, triggers for running away (AWOL), and situations where a clinician should be contacted. Additionally, mentors should be attentive to the fact that trafficking victims often experience Stockholm Syndrome and form intense emotional bonds with their traffickers. These conditions may be masked by a victim’s expression of affection for or customary subordination to a family member when the latter is the trafficker.

    Research Note: Because the tone of a relationship can be set quickly, literature emphasizes the importance of mentor training prior to the first match meeting. Some research suggests that mentors who receive at least six hours of pre-match training develop stronger, closer relationships with youth.

    Research Note: Some research suggests that mentors who take the time to develop close, trusting relationships with youth are more likely to make the relationship last long enough to be potentially helpful to the mentee.

  • MS 6.03

    Mentors receive ongoing support that provides:

    1. assistance with practical problems;
    2. suggestions or directions regarding behavior or future activity; and
    3. reassurance and recognition of the value of the mentor’s efforts.

    Interpretation: Ongoing support can be provided through: (1) group training and support sessions, and/or (2) individual contacts with supervisors or designated personnel, as described in MS 8.02.

    Research Note: Some research suggests that mentors and youth may spend more time together when mentors receive more post-match support and training, and highlights the importance of providing support that promotes the development of positive relationships.

  • MS 6.04

    Mentors matched with older or high-risk youth receive assistance establishing friendly relationships that also address any immediate problems and challenges confronting the mentee.

    Interpretation: Mentors matched with older or high-risk youth may need more extensive training and support than mentors serving younger or lower-risk children and youth. 

    Note: “Older youth” include middle-school and high-school students. “High-risk youth” may include: youth at risk of poor school performance or attendance, youth at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system, youth at risk of pregnancy or early parenting, youth at risk of substance use, youth at risk of welfare dependence, youth at risk of gang involvement, and youth who have sustained emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.

    Research Note: Some research suggests that it may be particularly difficult to develop close relationships with older or high-risk youth, and that they tend to have shorter mentoring relationships than younger and lower-risk youth. Oftentimes programs serving higher need populations place more intensive requirements on mentors and, therefore, opt to utilize paid staff mentors as opposed to volunteers. The use of “professional” mentors has proven highly beneficial in terms of the recruitment and retention within these more challenging programs, and allows programs to extend the terms of the mentor/mentee relationships. Longer relationships have resulted in better service outcomes. Having full-time staff mentors also increases mentor capacity to manage the mentor/mentee relationship through more frequent and extensive practical application of mentor training.

    NA The organization does not serve older or high-risk youth.

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