Private Organization Accreditation

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


Bonnie Bagley

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

I have found that being a COA Volunteer builds my professional skills and experience in ways that more traditional workshops do not. The opportunity to learn about best practices through the COA standards and then see how agencies implement them is truly a growth experience.
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Residential Treatment Services provide individualized therapeutic interventions and a range of services, including education for residents to increase productive and pro-social behavior, improve functioning and well-being, and return to a stable living arrangement in the community.

PA-RTX 13: Services for Pregnant and Parenting Residents

The agency utilizes a family-driven treatment model to empower pregnant and parenting residents and supports and promotes the well-being of their children and other family members.

Note: “Parenting residents” refers to residents that bring their children with them to the treatment program. Agencies will be responsible for determining whether a child should be admitted to the treatment program.

Research Note: Research on women’s substance use, dependence, and treatment shows that relationships, especially with their family and children, play an important role in women’s substance use, treatment, and relapse. Integrated programs providing family-focused substance use treatment have shown efficacy in reducing substance use, higher rates of treatment completion, higher rates of post-treatment sobriety, improved parenting skills, as well as developmental improvements in the children accompanying them to care.

NA The agency does not serve pregnant and/or parenting residents.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • A description of services
    • Procedures for linking children to services and providing ongoing monitoring and follow-up
    • Procedures for evaluating educational needs and collaborating with schools
    • Policy prohibiting corporal punishment
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Residents
      4. Residents' children
    • Review case records

  • PA-RTX 13.01

    The agency provides or arranges for children accompanying their parents in residential care to receive services that address, as appropriate: 
    1. health and medical needs;
    2. mental health needs;
    3. trauma history;
    4. educational needs;
    5. social and recreational needs;
    6. developmental needs, including any developmental delays; 
    7. attachment to parents and extended family; and
    8. behavioral issues.

    Interpretation: Many children accompanying their parents in care are in need of therapeutic, health, developmental, and other services to address specific delays and conditions. Simply allowing the children to stay with their parents is not adequate to meet the needs of the family. Older children may need additional services such as substance abuse education or treatment services, such as tobacco cessation.

    NA The agency does not allow residents to bring their children to the treatment program.

  • PA-RTX 13.02

    To promote child safety and well-being, the agency supports residents’ efforts to care for and nurture their children, and:
    1. offers age-appropriate programming that meets children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical needs; or
    2. links children with appropriate services offered by other community providers.

    Interpretation: Examples of appropriate programming services can include play groups, recreational activities, educational activities, counseling, and therapeutic services. Additional services for younger children may include therapeutic day care, Head Start, and other early childhood programs. Examples of programs for older youth may include peer support peer groups, afterschool programs and tutoring, recreational activities, and employment assistance.

    NA The agency does not allow residents to bring their children to the treatment program.

  • PA-RTX 13.03

    Agencies evaluate the educational status and needs of school-age children and youth and:
    1. inform residents of their children’s educational rights;
    2. help residents coordinate educational services with relevant school districts; and
    3. assist children and youth to stay current with the curricula.

    Research Note: Older youth often deal with problems related to delinquency, low academic performance which is caused by school disruptions, grade failure, learning disabilities, poor peer relationships, lack of a suitable homework environment, and truancy.

    NA The agency does not allow residents to bring their children to the treatment program.

  • PA-RTX 13.04

    The agency provides or arranges child care while the resident is receiving treatment services.

    NA The agency does not allow residents to bring their children to the treatment program.

  • FP
    PA-RTX 13.05

    To promote positive parenting practices, the agency:
    1. prohibits corporal punishment of children by either the parent or provider; 
    2. promotes, encourages, and educates both parents and providers about alternatives to corporal punishment; and
    3. provides or refers parents to parent education classes or workshops.

    Interpretation: The agency must have a board-approved policy that prohibits corporal punishment and should maintain documentation that all providers and residents are informed of this policy.

    NA The agency does not allow residents to bring their children to the treatment program.

  • PA-RTX 13.06

    Pregnant residents are provided or linked with specialized services that include, as appropriate:
    1. pregnancy counseling;
    2. prenatal health care;
    3. genetic risk identification and counseling services;
    4. fetal alcohol syndrome screening;
    5. labor and delivery services;
    6. postpartum care;
    7. mental health care; 
    8. pediatric health care, including well-baby visits and immunizations; 
    9. peer counseling services; and
    10. children’s health insurance programs.

    Interpretation: Regarding element (g), expectant mothers should be screened for depression, informed about postpartum depression, and connected to available support and treatment services. 

    NA The agency does not serve pregnant residents.

  • PA-RTX 13.07

    Pregnant residents are educated about the following prenatal health topics:
    1. fetal growth and development;
    2. the importance of prenatal care;
    3. nutrition and proper weight gain;
    4. appropriate exercise;
    5. medication use during pregnancy;
    6. effects of tobacco and substance use on fetal development;
    7. what to expect during labor and delivery; and
    8. benefits of breastfeeding.

    Interpretation: These topics may be addressed by qualified medical personnel in the context of prenatal health care.

    NA The agency does not serve pregnant residents.

  • PA-RTX 13.08

    Pregnant and parenting residents are helped to develop skills and knowledge related to:
    1. basic caregiving routines;
    2. child growth and development;
    3. meeting children’s social, emotional, and physical health needs;
    4. environmental safety and injury prevention;
    5. parent-child interactions and bonding;
    6. age-appropriate behavioral expectations and appropriate discipline; 
    7. family planning; and
    8. developing supportive relationships with family members or caring adults and establishing functioning support network.


    • Revised Standard - 08/15/17
      Interpretation was added to provide additional clarification and reflect best practice.

    Interpretation: Agencies should tailor how topics are addressed based on service recipients’ needs. For example, when serving expectant parents or parents of young children, education on environmental safety and injury prevention should address topics such as safe practices for sleeping and bathing.  

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