Private Organization Accreditation

Children's Home Society of Florida delivers a unique spectrum of social services designed to protect children at risk of abuse, neglect or abandonment; to strengthen and stabilize families; to help young people break the cycle of abuse and neglect; and to find safe, loving homes for children.


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.
read more>>


Individuals who receive Services for Mental Health and/or Substance Use Disorders improve social, emotional, psychological, cognitive, and family functioning, and attain recovery and wellness.

PA-MHSU 1: Service Philosophy, Modalities, and Interventions

The service philosophy:

  1. sets forth a logical approach for how program activities and interventions will meet the needs of service recipients;
  2. ensures that services are strengths-based, person- or family-centered, culturally and linguistically responsive, and trauma-informed;
  3. guides the development and implementation of program activities and services based on the best available evidence of service effectiveness; and
  4. outlines the service modalities and interventions that personnel may employ.

Interpretation: A functional service philosophy, logic model, or similar framework guides program development and implementation by linking the agency’s mission or purpose with strategies, practices, or tools needed to integrate these into daily work. A well-defined and visible practice framework will help staff and stakeholders think systematically about how the program can make a measureable difference by drawing clear connections between program values, service population needs, available resources, program activities and interventions, program outputs, and desired outcomes.

Interpretation: Organizational self-assessments can evaluate the extent to which agencies’ policies and practices are trauma-informed, as well as identify strengths and barriers in regards to trauma-informed service delivery and provision. For example, agencies can evaluate staff training and professional development opportunities and review supervision ratios to assess whether personnel are trained and supported on trauma-informed care practices. Organizations can also conduct an internal review of their assessments and service planning processes to ensure that services are being delivered in a trauma-informed manner.

Interpretation: Detoxification programs are focused on withdrawal management. The primary goal is to stabilize service recipients so that they can transition to a substance use treatment program. The service philosophy should reflect the primary focus of the program and outline any limitations to service delivery based on the program model. For example, depending on the level of care, family involvement may not be appropriate throughout the duration of treatment. 

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 philosophy
    • Procedures for the use of therapeutic interventions
    • Policies for prohibited interventions
    • Documentation of training and/or certification related to therapeutic interventions 
    • Interview:
      1. Clinical or program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Individuals or families served
    • Review case records

  • PA-MHSU 1.01

    The program is guided by a philosophy that provides a logical basis for services and support to be delivered in a trauma-informed and culturally and linguistically responsive manner, based on program goals and the best available evidence of service effectiveness.

    Interpretation: Services and support should be tailored to meet the individualized needs and goals of service recipients. 

    Research Note: Organizations that are trauma-informed recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma, and respond by applying the six principles of a trauma-informed approach: 

    1. safety; 
    2. trustworthiness and transparency; 
    3. peer support; 
    4. collaboration and mutuality; 
    5. empowerment, voice, and choice; and 
    6. cultural, historical, and gender issues. 
    Research Note: Providing services in a culturally and linguistically responsive manner is a strategy for combating health disparities and improving health outcomes for diverse populations. National standards on the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services have been developed to help agencies better serve increasingly diverse communities. 

  • FP
    PA-MHSU 1.02

    Prior to providing any therapeutic interventions, the agency:

    1. explains any benefits, risks, side effects, and alternatives to the service recipient or a legal guardian;
    2. obtains the written, informed consent of the individual or his/her legal guardian;
    3. ensures that personnel receive sufficient training, and/or certification when it is available; and
    4. monitors the use and effectiveness of such interventions.

    Interpretation: Organizations that choose to engage in modalities or interventions that do not have an established evidence-base should ensure that practices do not cause physical or psychological harm by demonstrating in their procedures that they have acknowledged the potential risks of implementing such methods and subsequently taken appropriate measures to minimize risks.

    Research Note: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) techniques, also known as complimentary health approaches, are products and practices that are not considered part of conventional medicine including, for example, massage therapy, movement therapy, hypnosis, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and aromatherapy. While CAM is commonly associated with physical health, alternative therapies are being integrated into behavioral health. A growing body of research suggests that mind-body practices, such as mindfulness meditation and yoga, can enhance quality of life, decrease psychological stress, and improve mental health outcomes.

    NA The agency provides Diagnosis, Assessment, and Referral Services only.

  • FP
    PA-MHSU 1.03

    Organization policy prohibits:

    1. corporal punishment;
    2. the use of aversive stimuli;
    3. interventions that involve withholding nutrition or hydration or that inflict physical or psychological pain;
    4. the use of demeaning, shaming, or degrading language or activities;
    5. forced physical exercise to eliminate behaviors;
    6. unwarranted use of invasive procedures or activities as a disciplinary action;
    7. punitive work assignments;
    8. punishment by peers; and
    9. group punishment or discipline for individual behavior.

    NA The agency provides Diagnosis, Assessment, and Referral Services only.

  • FP
    PA-MHSU 1.04

    An intervention is discontinued immediately if it produces adverse side effects or is deemed unacceptable according to prevailing professional standards. 

Copyright © 2019 Council on Accreditation. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy and Terms of Use