Private Organization Accreditation

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


Mike Angstadt

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Hague Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

Serving as a Team Leader for COA has been an enriching experience in many ways. Utilizing the Contextual Accreditation process to discern the means in which agencies, offering a variety of services, located throughout the US, Canada ,the Philippines and other countries provide best and most promising practices to their consumers has been particularly rewarding. 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 5: Clinical Counseling

The agency provides clinical counseling services that:

  1. provide an appropriate level and intensity of support and treatment;
  2. recognize individual and family values and goals;
  3. accommodate variations in lifestyle; 
  4. emphasize personal growth, development, and situational change; and
  5. promote recovery, resilience, and wellness.

Interpretation: Recovery is a holistic process of change where individuals learn to overcome or manage their diagnosed symptoms and conditions in order to improve overall well-being and achieve optimal health.

Interpretation: Detoxification treatment programs include daily clinical services such as appropriate medical care, therapy, and withdrawal support. A range of therapies (e.g., cognitive, behavioral, medical, and mental health therapies) are provided to service recipients on an individual or group basis. Services aim to enhance the service recipient’s understanding of addiction, completion of withdrawal management, and referral to an appropriate level of care for substance use treatment. The delivery of services will vary and depends on the assessed needs of the service recipient and his or her treatment progress. 

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

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • A description of clinical counseling services
    • Procedures for providing necessary care to service recipients who are victims of violence, abuse, neglect, or other known trauma, or at risk for suicide (PA-MHSU 5.04)
    • Procedures for evaluating level and intensity of care (PA-MHSU 5.05)
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Clinical or program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Individuals or families served
    • Review case records

  • PA-MHSU 5.01

    Clinical counseling services help service recipients develop the knowledge, skills, and supports necessary to: 

    1. manage mental health and/or substance use disorders; 
    2. cultivate and sustain positive, meaningful relationships with peers, family members, and the community; 
    3. develop self-efficacy; and
    4. promote whole-person wellness.

    Research Note: According to the Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s Wellness Initiative, whole-person wellness refers to overall well-being and encompasses the mental, emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of an individual’s life.

    Research Note: Developing and maintaining relationships with meaningful individuals or groups, such as family members, peers, teachers, coworkers, and community agencies, can help individuals manage behavioral health issues, including suicide risk, psychological distress, mental illness, and/or substance use. Research suggests that individuals with mental illness who have larger, more satisfactory support networks report better quality of life.

  • PA-MHSU 5.02

    Personnel engage and motivate service recipients by demonstrating:

    1. sensitivity to the needs and personal goals of the service recipient;
    2. a non-threatening manner;
    3. respect for the person’s autonomy, confidentiality, sociocultural values, personal goals, lifestyle choices, and complex family interactions;
    4. flexibility; and
    5. appropriate boundaries.

  • PA-MHSU 5.03

    Personnel assist service recipients to:

    1. explore and clarify the concern or issue;
    2. voice the goals she or he wishes to achieve;
    3. identify successful coping or problem-solving strategies based on the individual’s strengths, formal and informal supports, and preferred solutions; and
    4. realize ways of maintaining and generalizing the individual’s gains.

    Research Note: Research suggests the most successful interventions are those driven by the individual’s goals and utilizing the individual’s strengths, coping mechanisms, and support networks. Assisting individuals and families to identify the concern that brought them into treatment, their goals for treatment, and the tools they have to successfully accomplish their goals leads to greater self-sufficiency and fewer treatment needs in the future.

  • FP
    PA-MHSU 5.04

    If a service recipient is a victim of violence, abuse, neglect, or other known trauma, or at risk for suicide, the agency provides:

    1. trauma-informed care;
    2. a safety plan, as needed;
    3. more frequent monitoring of progress toward service goals;
    4. more intensive services; and
    5. a referral.

    Interpretation: Regarding element (b), safety plans will look different depending on the specific needs of the service recipient. For example, safety plans for survivors of domestic violence focus on helping individuals prepare for immediate escape, while safety plans for individuals at risk for suicide focus on warning signs, coping strategies, and lethal means restriction.

    Interpretation: Service members and veterans who are trauma survivors may need services uniquely tailored to their needs. Service members and veterans often experience a complex nexus of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, traumatic brain injury (TBI), substance abuse, and intimate partner violence. These issues may place individuals at elevated risk for suicide.

    Interpretation: If the service recipient has been assessed as being at high risk for suicide and misses an appointment, or there has been a significant cha