Private Organization Accreditation

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


Barry Gourley

Volunteer Roles: Endorser; Peer Reviewer

It is an honor to be a COA volunteer. I’ve had a great opportunity to work with fabulous COA volunteers, I’ve grown professionally in the COA accreditation process and I’ve met some wonderful people across this nation who are working hard to help and support children and families.
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Juvenile Justice Case Management Services coordinate the services and supervision that can help youth address problems and develop the attitudes and skills needed to make responsible choices, avoid negative behaviors, and become productive, connected, and law-abiding members of their communities.

PA-JJCM 3: Service Planning

Youth participate in the development of service plans that are the basis for delivery of appropriate support, services, and supervision.

Interpretation: When the agency provides case management services to youth in residential placements, the agency should partner with personnel at the residential facility to develop an appropriate plan.

When services are provided as aftercare that follows another more intensive program, “service plans” may actually be “reentry plans” developed before youth were released from their previous placements. However, the agency is still expected to partner with personnel at those previous placements to facilitate effective planning and ensure that the standards are implemented.

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 service delivery 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
    • Service planning procedures
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Youth served and their families
    • Review case records

  • PA-JJCM 3.01

    A service plan is developed in a timely manner, and expedited service planning is available when needed.

    Interpretation: Agencies providing aftercare services should strive to develop plans before youth are released from their previous placements, as referenced in the Interpretation to PA-JJCM 3.

  • PA-JJCM 3.02

    Youth, their family members, and relevant personnel are involved in developing service plans.

    Interpretation: Relevant personnel can include personnel from other organizations and agencies. For example, as referenced in the Interpretation to PA-JJCM 3, agencies providing case management to youth in residential placement should partner with personnel at the residential facility, and agencies providing aftercare services should partner with staff at the youth’s previous placement. Regardless of personnel involved, service planning should be conducted so that youth retain as much personal responsibility as possible and appropriate.

    Although COA recognizes that engaging family members can be difficult, agencies should still strive to involve them to the extent possible and appropriate, and must follow any applicable laws or regulations requiring the involvement of parents or legal guardians. See PA-JJCM 3.04, 3.05, 5.07, and 6.04 for further information and guidance regarding the participation of parents or legal guardians and other family members.

  • PA-JJCM 3.03

    During service planning the agency explains:

    1. the range of services available;
    2. how the agency can support the achievement of desired outcomes;
    3. how youth and their progress will be monitored;
    4. any special terms or conditions, including conditions ordered by the court;
    5. benefits to be gained if the plan is fulfilled; and
    6. possible consequences of noncompliance.

    Interpretation: Relevant terms or conditions can include, but are not limited to: mandated curfews, school attendance, and drug testing.

  • PA-JJCM 3.04

    The service plan is based on the assessment and includes:

    1. desired goals and outcomes, and timeframes for achieving them;
    2. services and supports to be provided, and by whom;
    3. any unmet service and support needs;
    4. the level of supervision needed, including the number and type of contacts required; and
    5. the signature of the youth and a parent or legal guardian.

    Interpretation: Like assessments, service plans should be responsive to the age, developmental level, gender, language, religion, race, ethnicity, cultural background, and sexual orientation of youth, as well as to the characteristics of, and resources available in, the communities in which they reside.

    Note: See the Interpretation to PA-JJCM 3.02.

  • PA-JJCM 3.05

    The agency encourages family involvement by:

    1. including family members in scheduling decisions;
    2. allowing participation through teleconferencing;
    3. assisting with transportation and childcare, as needed and to the extent possible; and
    4. helping personnel develop and maintain positive relationships with family members.

    Interpretation: Personnel should demonstrate: (a) sensitivity to the willingness of the family to be engaged; (b) respect for family members’ autonomy and confidentiality; (c) a non-threatening manner; (d) flexibility; and (e) persistence.

    Note: See the Interpretation to PA-JJCM 3.02.

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