Private Organization Accreditation

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Savannah Area's mission is to provide the best non-profit community service, dedicated to delivering professional and confidential counseling, debt management, housing counseling and consumer education to all segments of the community regardless of ability to pay.


Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Inc.

Donna Mathews, Associate Director

Becoming accredited and maintaining our accreditation through COA has helped us increase our professionalism and thereby provide better services to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence survivors.
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Individuals and families who participate in Counselling, 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.

CA-CSE 4: Counseling and Support Services

The organization provides individuals with educational, supportive, and preventive services that:

  1. recognize individual and family values and goals;
  2. accommodate differences in lifestyles;
  3. emphasise personal growth, development, and situational change; and
  4. offer guidance, coaching, and community support.

Interpretation: Counseling and support services can be designed and delivered by peers, examples of which include peer-to-peer counseling, peer mentoring/coaching, and parent and family support services.

Note: Programs reviewed under Counseling and Support Services provide non-clinical, supportive counseling to individuals and families. Please refer to the note at the service definition for further guidance. 

NA The organization does not provide counseling and support services.

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 counseling and support services
    • Procedures for providing necessary care to service recipients who are victims of violence, abuse, neglect, or other known trauma, or at risk for suicide (CA-CSE 4.04) 
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      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

  • CA-CSE 4.01

    Program personnel engage and motivate service recipients by demonstrating:

    1. sensitivity to the needs and personal goals of the service recipient;
    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 professional boundaries.

  • CA-CSE 4.02

    Personnel assist the service recipients to:

    1. explore and clarify the reason for accessing services;
    2. voice service goals and desired outcomes;
    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 generalising gains.

    Interpretation: While written service plans are not required, documenting service goals and tracking progress toward the achievement of those goals is a way to ensure that services are effectively addressing an identified issue or concern. 

    Research Note: Best practice suggests that successful interventions are those that are driven by the goals of the service recipient and utilize strengths, coping mechanisms, and support networks to solve an identified problem. Assisting individuals and families to identify the concern that motivated them to seek out services, their service goals, and the tools they have to successfully accomplish their goals leads to greater self-sufficiency, and fewer service needs in the future.

  • CA-CSE 4.03

    Services have an educational, supportive, or preventive focus to help service recipients:

    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 stress of daily living; or
    5. improve role competency and family and social functioning.

  • FP
    CA-CSE 4.04

    When a service recipient is a victim of abuse, neglect, violence, other known trauma, or at risk for suicide, the organization works with the service recipient to develop:

    1. trauma-informed care;
    2. a safety plan;
    3. frequent monitoring of progress towards service goals and desired outcomes; and/or
    4. access to intensive services.

    Interpretation: Trauma informed care is grounded in a thorough understanding of the biopsychosocial effects of trauma on the individual. Service recipients should receive education about the impact of trauma and have the opportunity to explore care options so they can actively participate in developing service goals and objectives. By taking this approach, organizations are encouraging and respecting the voice and choice of those they serve.

    Interpretation: Regarding element (b), safety plans will look different depending on the specific needs of the service recipient. For example, safety plans for survivors of domestic violence focus on helping individuals prepare for immediate escape, while safety plans for individuals at risk for suicide focus on warning signs, coping strategies, and lethal means restriction.

  • CA-CSE 4.05

    The organization:

    1. informs service recipients of any limitations to confidentiality prior to disclosure of sensitive information;
    2. provides service recipients with resources to report domestic violence, sexual assault, abuse, or neglect, if they elect to do so; and
    3. adheres to mandated reporting legislation, regulations, and/or contracts.
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