Private Organization Accreditation

Debt Education and Certification Foundation (DECAF), a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, provides high-quality financial education and counseling, with nationwide outreach throughout the U.S. DECAF is HUD-approved, and recognized as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in Texas.


Family Services of the North Shore

Kathleen Whyte, Manager of Human Resources / Accreditation Coordinator

Family Services of the North Shore is about to enter our third accreditation cycle with COA. Accreditation has provided us with a framework that enables us to demonstrate accountability to our clients, our funders and our donors. There is no question that the accreditation process and COA have benefited our agency.
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Community Change Initiatives mobilize the community for action; strengthen the capacity of residents and organizations to effect and sustain change; build and improve neighborhoods; and lay the groundwork for future progress.

CA-CCI 6: Implementation of the Plan

The organization works with relevant stakeholders to implement activities and projects that:

  1. build or improve some aspect of the community;
  2. address the priorities and goals specified in the plan; and
  3. allow stakeholders to collaborate in a way that builds social and human capital.

Interpretation: Initiatives may include a wide variety of projects and activities, depending upon available resources, priorities, and goals. Examples include, but are not limited to: implementing garden, park, or abandoned space revitalisation projects; conducting street and alley improvements; developing transportation networks; forming advocacy groups on topics such as social welfare, racial equity, fair and affordable housing, and civil rights; community policing; forming a community development credit union or loan fund; attracting or developing new businesses; setting up workforce development or job linkage programs; renovating homes; developing new housing; energising schools; offering positive youth development activities; holding community festivals; using community expertise to provide family support services; and providing server or gatekeeper trainings.

Note: If an organization has not yet begun to implement its plan, it should request an NA for this standard.

Rating Indicators
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted, however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations (CA-HR 6.02) and training (CA-TS 2.03); or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • A number of client records are missing important information  or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • One of the Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing; or  
  • Two or more Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • A description of how activities and projects promote the goals specified in the plan(s)
    • Documentation that demonstrates implementation of projects and activities (e.g., letters confirming projects and activities)
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Stakeholders
    • Observe community activities and projects, if possible
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