Private Organization Accreditation

HeartShare assist individuals with developmental disabilities through education, day, residential and recreation programs, case management, and health services, and provides foster care/adoption services, counseling, after school and energy assistance programs, and programs for people with HIV/AIDS.


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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Youth who participate in Youth Development Services gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood.

PA-YD 3: Registration and Orientation

The agency enrolls, orients, and collects relevant information from youth and their families.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Description of orientation procedures
    • Policies and/or procedures for maintaining and accessing files of youth
    • Informational materials provided to youth and families 
    • Registration or admission form
    • Waiting list 
    • Interview:
      1. Program Administrator
      2. Site Director
      3. Program Personnel
      4. Youth and families
    • Review files of youth

  • PA-YD 3.01

    During registration or orientation, youth and their families are:

    1. informed about program goals, activities, rules, and responsibilities; 
    2. welcomed to the program by current participants;
    3. offered a tour of the facility; and
    4. introduced to staff and program participants.

    Research Note: Research has shown that offering a formal orientation period promotes the development of friendships and ties to the program; which, studies have shown, are critical to sustained involvement with the program over time. Additionally, involving enrolled youth in program orientation helps recruit and retain older youth and helps older youth feel as though they are important members of the community.

  • PA-YD 3.02

    Prompt, responsive registration practices: 

    1. support timely program enrollment; 
    2. ensure equitable treatment; and 
    3. provide for placement on a waiting list, if desired.

    Interpretation: Youth who cannot be served, or cannot be served promptly, should be provided with information about other appropriate programs, if available in the community and desired by the youth and family.

  • FP
    PA-YD 3.03

    The agency collects relevant information from youth and their families, including:

    1. identifying information, including name and date of birth;
    2. address;
    3. current emergency contact information that is updated at least annually;
    4. information and consent forms related to special needs, including medical needs, if applicable, that is updated at least annually;
    5. additional consent forms or permission slips, as needed;
    6. authorizations for pick-up, if applicable; and
    7. relevant school day data, if applicable for the program.

    Interpretation: Relevant school day data may include the youth’s Individual Education Plan or 504 plan when one exists.

  • PA-YD 3.04

    The agency maintains files for all youth that:

    1. contain relevant information;
    2. are specific, factual, and legible;
    3. are kept up to date;
    4. are signed and dated by authorized personnel, where appropriate;
    5. comply with any applicable legal requirements; and
    6. are maintained and disposed of in a manner that protects privacy and confidentiality.

    Interpretation: Relevant information includes the information specified in PA-YD 3.03, as well as information that would not have been available at the time of registration, such as accident report forms, payment receipts when applicable, attendance records for the current school or calendar year, and evidence of ongoing communication with parents or other family members, when appropriate. 

    Files and signatures can be paper, electronic, or a combination of paper and electronic. 

    Note: In addition to supporting program operations, files are an important risk management tool. Well-maintained files can help shield an agency from allegations of misconduct and negligence, while poorly-maintained files and improper documentation are a known liability.

  • FP
    PA-YD 3.05

    Access to confidential youth files meets legal requirements, and is limited to:

    1. the youth and/or, as appropriate, their parents or legal guardians or designated legal representatives;
    2. personnel authorized to access specific information on a “need-to-know” basis;
    3. auditors, contractors, and licensing or accrediting personnel, consistent with the agency’s confidentiality policy; and
    4. others who are permitted access, as applicable.

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