Private Organization Accreditation

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


The Village for Families & Children, Inc.

Galo A. Rodriguez, M.P.H., President & CEO

COA Peer Reviewers demonstrated their expertise through their knowledge of COA standards as well as experience in the behavioral health field. In addition, COA’s seminars and tools were very helpful in guiding us through the accreditation process.
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The agency earns and sustains the public trust through honest, truthful, and responsible transactions, partnerships, and relationships with individuals, communities, providers, businesses, donors, and government entities.

PA-ETH 3: Fundraising

An agency that raises funds by individual solicitation from the general public conducts fundraising activities in an ethical, fiscally responsible manner.

Interpretation: This section is applicable to agencies that conduct fundraising through solicitation or receipt of money from private individuals, typically through means such as capital campaigns and contribution plans. This section is not applicable to agencies that apply for and/or receive private or public grants and contracts.

The agency reconciles its fundraising practices with prevailing ethical practices of the Association of Fundraising Professionals or similar national bodies.

NA The agency does not raise funds through solicitations or general fundraising events.

NA State Administered Agency Regional Office

Rating Indicators
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
  • A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  
  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
  • A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed administration and management infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Please see Rating Guidance for additional rating examples. 

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
    • Policies and procedures for all fundraising practices; including confidentiality of donors
    • Sample fundraising contract template
    State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
    • Evaluated at the Central Office only
    County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
    • Contracts/agreements
    • Financial statements/reports
    • Analysis of costs and benefits for sample of fundraising activities
    • Management meeting minutes
    State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
    • Evaluated at the Central Office only
    County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
    • Interview:
      1. Agency head
      2. CFO or equivalent
      3. Development director
    State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
    • Evaluated at the Central Office only

  • PA-ETH 3.01

    The agency’s management oversees fundraising activities and establishes written agreements with outside contractors or consultants.

  • PA-ETH 3.02

    The agency:

    1. accurately describes the purpose for which solicitations are being made;
    2. spends funds for the purposes they were solicited, with the exception of reasonable costs for administration of the fundraising program;
    3. maintains accounting segregation for restricted funds; and
    4. respects donor confidentiality requests.

    Interpretation: Conducting solicitations in an ethical manner also requires the agency to ensure that there are no material omissions, misstatements of fact, or misrepresentations regarding the use of funds.

    Interpretation: Internal controls should address the handling and acknowledgement of contributions and respect for donor confidentiality requests. At a minimum, the agency should protect the confidentiality of donors who request anonymity by ensuring that such donors’ names are not published or listed in newsletters, articles, annual reports, or other publicly available documents regarding the agency.

  • PA-ETH 3.03

    Costs and benefits of each fundraising activity are analyzed, taking into account factors that affect the reasonableness of fundraising costs in comparison to dollars raised.

    Interpretation: Factors that affect reasonableness of fundraising costs to dollars raised include, and are not limited to: the differential costs of donor solicitation, donor renewal, large bequests, or donations that would obscure true fundraising costs. The agency must show that it carefully allocates fundraising costs and does not obscure them by allocation to program or educational purposes. The agency must collect and maintain data that support sound fund development decisions by its leadership.

  • PA-ETH 3.04

    Upon request of a donor or funding source, the agency discloses descriptive and financial information for revenue-generating activities including fee-for-service programs, for-profit subsidiaries, and related or unrelated business ventures.

  • PA-ETH 3.05

    The agency raises funds in accordance with applicable local, state, and federal requirements and registers all fundraising activities with the appropriate administrative authorities

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