Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Counseling, Support, and Education Services (PA-CSE) 5: Education and Support Group Services

Education and support groups provide educational, supportive, and preventive services to improve emotional well-being, and promote self-sufficiency, personal growth, development, resilience, and wellness.
NA The agency does not provide education or support groups.
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
No Self-Study Evidence
  • Education and support group schedule for the previous 12 months
  • Curricula from education and support groups
  • 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 5.01

Services have an educational, supportive, or preventive focus to help individuals and families:
  1. recover from crises;
  2. cope with life transitions;
  3. set recovery and/or life goals;
  4. identify networks of support and supportive resources;
  5. better understand the patterns of community and family living;
  6. anticipate and manage stresses of daily living; 
  7. improve role competency and family and social functioning; or
  8. enhance health and whole-person wellness.
Examples: Education and support groups might focus on relapse prevention, job skills training, family relations, suicide loss and grief, and other topics related to personal recovery goals.

PA-CSE 5.02

Services provided in a group setting:
  1. emphasize group learning and facilitate sharing in a safe, supportive environment;
  2. are designed to respond flexibly to the changing needs of group members; and
  3. are scheduled with participants’ time commitments in mind.

PA-CSE 5.03

Program activities promote the personal growth and independence of individuals and families through opportunities to:
  1. share experiences with the group;
  2. strengthen abilities to relate to those who are different from themselves;
  3. develop satisfying relationships with other group participants;
  4. assume responsibilities and develop leadership capacities; and
  5. participate in activities of interest.