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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Job seekers who receive workforce development, support, and financial asset building services achieve increased economic self-sufficiency through the attainment and retention of jobs in the community and the promotion of asset accumulation.

PA-WDS 4: Assessment-Based Employment Planning and Monitoring

Each job seeker participates in a culturally responsive, individualized, and comprehensive assessment, which is the basis for the development and ongoing review of an employment plan that:

  1. addresses the job seeker’s needs;
  2. supports attainment of the job seeker’s goals and desired outcomes; and
  3. improves the job seeker’s ability to be self-sustaining.
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
    • Assessment procedures
    • Assessment tool and/or criteria included in assessment
    • Employment planning and monitoring procedures
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Individuals served
    • Review case records

  • PA-WDS 4.01

    Culturally responsive assessments are conducted within timeframes established by the agency to determine the job seeker’s:

    1. previous formal and informal work experience;
    2. relevant life experiences;
    3. interests, aptitudes, and employment goals;
    4. training and educational needs;
    5. strengths and coping strategies;
    6. informal support networks; and barriers to employment.

    Interpretation: Culturally responsive assessments can include attention to geographic location, language of choice, and the person’s religious, racial, ethnic, and cultural background. Other important factors that contribute to a responsive assessment include attention to age, sexual orientation, and developmental level.

  • PA-WDS 4.02

    The agency works with the full participation of the job seeker to develop and regularly review an assessment-based employment plan that is individualized, flexible, and modified as necessary to meet his or her changing needs and goals

    Interpretation: Employment planning is to be conducted so that the service recipient retains as much personal responsibility and self-determination as possible and desired. When the service recipient is a minor, or an adult under the care of a guardian, the agency should follow applicable state laws or regulations requiring involvement or consent of legal guardians.

  • PA-WDS 4.03

    To ensure the development of a comprehensive employment plan, direct service personnel are trained in the variety of services offered by the agency, directly and by referral.

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