Private Organization Accreditation

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


Anita Paukovits

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer

Being a COA peer reviewer has clearly played a role in my professional development and has made me a better administrator at my own agency as a result!  To be part of a professional network that is on the cutting edge of program, practice, fiscal responsibility, and insuring Best Practice across the field is an amazing opportunity.
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Youth participating in Psychosocial Services (YPS) receive community based services that facilitate childhood development and resiliency using a holistic approach that improves family functioning and increases child well-being and safety.


Youth Psychosocial Services provide an interdisciplinary, psychoeducational, and therapeutic program to engage youth in a variety of cognitive, physical, and social activities appropriate to their needs, interests, and abilities in order to promote healthy development.  

Many youth who benefit from youth psychosocial services have complex needs, requiring service planning with multiple service sectors. In order to meet these needs many programs use the wraparound approach of service planning to provide intensive, individualized care with the goal of maintaining the youth in the home and the community, or the appropriate least restrictive setting. An organization may engage in a wraparound approach without being a wraparound program, however there are standards that speak to those specific programs (specifically 5.03, 5.04, 5.05). The aim of these programs is to engage the youth, family, and all service providers to develop and implement a plan with shared goals and outcomes. The main effort of these programs may not be to provide direct service, but they still fall under the umbrella of youth psychosocial programs and benefit from these standards. For programs that offer solely wraparound services, documentation of the other services to which youth are connected will suffice.

Research Note: A trauma-informed approach is one that involves recognizing signs and symptoms of trauma, and responding by emphasizing/considering the following during service-delivery:

  • safety;
  • trustworthiness and transparency;
  • peer support;
  • collaboration and mutuality;
  • empowerment, voice, and choice; and
  • cultural, historical, and gender issues.
Research Note: Best practices for Wraparound services emphasize utilization of the Wraparound Fidelity Index for quality assurance and fidelity monitoring.

Note: The term ‘youth’ refers to individuals between the ages of 3 and 21 whose developmental needs can be met through engagement in a psychosocial rehabilitation program and who have a primary caregiver.

Note: The phrase ‘voice and choice’ is used throughout this section and refers to the youth’s ability to be given decision making power over their treatment.

Note: While addressing the needs of the youth is the primary goal of youth psychosocial rehabilitation programs, oftentimes it is essential to provide support for the family and engage them in services as well. Each youth defines “family” differently, whether it be blood relatives, primary caregivers, resource families, adoptive families, extended family members, significant others, peer groups or other family-like relationships. Organizations should work with the youth to understand their definition of “family” in order for youth to develop and sustain permanent, lifelong connections.

Note: Standards 5.04, 5.05, and 5.06 are for Wraparound-specific programs only.

Note: Please see YPS Reference List for a list of resources that informed the development of these standards. 

Youth Psychosocial Services Narrative

Self-Study Evidence
    • Provide an individual overview of each program being accredited under this section. The overview should describe:
      1. the program’s approach to delivering services;
      2. eligibility criteria;
      3. any unique or special services provided to specific populations; and
      4. major funding streams.
    • If elements of the service (e.g., assessments) are provided by contract with outside programs or through participation in a formal, coordinated, service delivery system, provide a list that identifies the providers and the service components for which they are responsible. Do not include services provided by referral.
    • Provide any other information you would like the peer review team to know about these programs.
    • A demographic profile of the youth served by the programs being reviewed under this service section with percentages representing the following:
      1. racial and ethnic characteristics;
      2. gender/gender identity;
      3. age;
      4. presence of mental health and emotional/behavioral conditions;
      5. medical conditions;
      6. major religious groups; and
      7. major language groups.
    • As applicable, a list of groups or classes, including for each group or class:
      1. the type of activity/group;
      2. whether the activity/group is short-term or ongoing;
      3. how often the activity/group is offered;
      4. the average number of participants per session of the activity/group, in the last month; and
      5. the total number of participants in the activity/group, in the last month.
    • A list of any programs that were opened, merged with other programs or services, or closed.
    • A list of program outcomes and outputs being measured.
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