Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Counseling, Support, and Education Services (PA-CSE) 4: Counseling and Support Services

The agency provides individuals and families with educational, supportive, and preventive services that:
  1. recognize individual and family values and goals;
  2. accommodate differences in lifestyles;
  3. emphasize personal growth, development, and situational change; and
  4. offer guidance, coaching, and community support.
NA The agency does not provide counseling and support 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.
Examples: Counseling and support services may be designed and delivered by peers, examples of which include peer-to-peer counseling, peer mentoring/coaching, and parent and family support services. 
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
  • Procedures for providing necessary care to trauma survivors or individuals at risk of suicide
No On-Site Evidence
  • 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 4.01

Services have an educational, supportive, or preventive focus to help individuals and families:
  1. cope with life transitions;
  2. develop life skills and problem-solving techniques;
  3. better understand the patterns of community and family living;
  4. anticipate and manage stresses of daily living; or
  5. improve role competency and family and social functioning.


PA-CSE 4.02

Personnel assist individuals and families to:
  1. explore and clarify the reason for accessing services;
  2. voice service goals;
  3. identify successful coping or problem solving strategies based on identified strengths, formal and informal supports, and preferred solutions;
  4. establish and evaluate progress towards achieving identified goals; and
  5. realize ways of maintaining and generalizing gains.
Examples: The agency can encourage active participation of individuals and families by demonstrating:
  1. sensitivity to the needs and personal goals of the individual or family;
  2. a receptive manner;
  3. respect for the person’s autonomy, confidentiality, socio-cultural values, lifestyle choices, and complex family interactions;
  4. flexibility; and
  5. appropriate boundaries.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CSE 4.03

When the individual is a victim of abuse, neglect, violence, or other known trauma, or at risk for suicide, the agency provides:
  1. trauma-informed care;
  2. education about the impact of trauma;
  3. an appropriate safety plan;
  4. resources to report domestic violence, sexual assault, abuse, or neglect if the individual elects to do so;
  5. information on service options so the individual can actively participate in developing service goals and objectives;
  6. frequent monitoring of progress toward service goals; and/or
  7. access to intensive services.
Example: Agency self-assessment is one way to evaluate the extent to which an agency's policies and practices are trauma-informed, as well as identify strengths and barriers in regards to trauma-informed service delivery. For example, agencies can evaluate staff training and professional development opportunities and review supervision ratios to assess whether personnel are trained and supported on trauma-informed care practices. Agencies can also conduct an internal review of their service delivery processes to ensure that services are being delivered in a trauma-informed manner.