Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Counseling, Support, and Education Services (PA-CSE) 3: Intake

The agency's intake practices ensure that individuals and families receive prompt and responsive access to appropriate services.
2020 Edition




Individuals and families who participate in Counseling, Support, and Education Services identify and build on strengths, develop skills to manage situational change, access appropriate community support and resources, and improve functioning in daily activities at home, at work, and in the community.
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.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Screening and intake procedures
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Individuals or families served
  • Review logs, progress notes, or case records for documentation of services provided, as applicable


PA-CSE 3.01

Individuals and families are screened and informed about:
  1. how well their request matches the agency's services; and
  2. what services will be available, and when.
NA Another agency is responsible for screening, as defined in a contract.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CSE 3.02

Prompt, responsive intake practices:
  1. gather information necessary to identify critical service needs and/or determine when a more intensive service is necessary;
  2. give priority to urgent needs and emergency situations;
  3. support timely initiation of services; and
  4. provide for placement on a waiting list or referral to appropriate resources when individuals cannot be served or cannot be served promptly.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CSE 3.03

The agency has procedures in place to identify and respond to individuals and families at risk of suicide, self-injury, neglect, exploitation, and violence towards others.


If the program model does not necessitate individual risk screenings, agencies should, at a minimum, implement a program-wide screening to evaluate the potential risk of harm by or to persons served or others. Programs serving children, vulnerable adults, or individuals with a history of danger to self or others should conduct individual risk screenings. 
Examples: Agencies can respond to identified risk by connecting individuals and families to more intensive services; facilitating the development of a safety and/or crisis plan; and/or contacting emergency responders, 24-hour mobile crisis teams, emergency crisis intervention services, crisis stabilization, or 24-hour crisis hotlines, as appropriate. 


PA-CSE 3.04

Case records, logs, or progress notes are maintained to document individual or group progress, as appropriate to the intervention.


A more formalized system of documentation may be necessary, depending on the service. For example, if the agency is establishing and tracking service goals, a service plan should be developed to monitor progress. Information that informs service delivery (e.g., screenings/assessments and service plans) should be maintained in the individual’s case record.
NA The agency provides services to community members or groups on a one-time or occasional basis.

NA The agency provides information and referral services only.