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.


Mike Angstadt

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Hague Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

Serving as a Team Leader for COA has been an enriching experience in many ways. Utilizing the Contextual Accreditation process to discern the means in which agencies, offering a variety of services, located throughout the US, Canada ,the Philippines and other countries provide best and most promising practices to their consumers has been particularly rewarding. read more>>


Clients who receive Financial Education and Counseling services learn to solve financial problems and gain personal financial management skills.

FEC 3: Information About Services

Clients receive information about the nature, scope, and limitation of the services provided and associated service fees.

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 (HR 6.02) and training (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
    • Privacy policy
    • Procedures regarding fees
    • Disclosure statement
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Clients
    • Review client files

  • FEC 3.01

    Clients receive information about:

    1. what services will be available and when;
    2. how the organization can support the achievement of desired outcomes; and
    3. the benefits, risks, alternatives, and consequences of planned services.

  • FP
    FEC 3.02

    Clients receive a privacy policy and disclosure statement that includes:

    1. how the organization obtains funding;
    2. the organization’s procedures for obtaining the client’s credit report, and the potential impact service may have on credit reports, as applicable;
    3. how confidential information is stored and used;
    4. the complaint tracking and resolution process;
    5. debt relief options the client may pursue including working directly with creditors, a debt management program, and attorney-assisted options; and
    6. disclosure of fees for the initial session.

    Interpretation: A copy of the privacy policy and disclosure statement is provided to all clients upon initiation of in-person sessions and at the conclusion of telephone or Internet sessions.

  • FP
    FEC 3.03

    Organizations that charge fees:

    1. do not deny service based on inability to pay;
    2. do not charge fees in advance of service;
    3. establish reasonable fees for services; and
    4. ensure the fee structure complies with applicable federal and state law.

    Interpretation: According to Internal Revenue Code Section 501(q), credit counseling organizations are prohibited from soliciting voluntary contributions from current clients. The collection of reasonable fees or reimbursement of the cost of services is permitted; however, organizations cannot deny service to clients who cannot pay. Agencies approved by the Executive Office for United States Trustees (EOUST) to provide pre-filing bankruptcy counseling and/or pre-discharge bankruptcy education may collect any fees associated with these services as provided for by EOUST.

    NA The organization does not charge fees.

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