WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Sweetser, a Maine non-profit agency operating since 1828, provides comprehensive mental and behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services. Statewide, it serves around 15,000 consumers a year, including children, adults, and families in outpatient, office-based, and residential settings.
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VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL

Audrey Coleman, RN-MSN

Volunteer Roles: Military Reviewer; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

My first experience with COA was in 1999 with what was a NC Area Program. I started as a peer reviewer in 2005, doing two to four site visits a year. I am also a team leader and have recently been approved to be a military reviewer.
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Purpose

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

FEC 5: Financial Education and Counseling Services

The organization supports and delivers a variety of counseling and education services on family money management, budgeting, and the prudent, intelligent use of credit.

Update:

  • Deleted Evidence - 01/12/18
    The evidence was deleted.
Rating Indicators
1
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.
2
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.
3
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.
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 services
    • Financial counseling procedures
    • Financial education materials provided to clients
    • Educational program curricula
    • Information about individual and group education and counseling programs including program dates, subjects, number of participants, and participant evaluations
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Clients
    • Review client files

  • FP
    FEC 5.01

    The organization educates clients and provides general information about:

    1. their rights;
    2. public and non-profit resources that can offer assistance; and
    3. applicable laws and regulations.

    Interpretation: Applicable laws and regulations may include the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Gramm-Leach Bliley Act, and other consumer credit legislation and regulations.


  • FEC 5.02

    Counseling and education services offer the full range of options to address debt problems, and include information about:

    1. negotiating directly with creditors on payment or interest rate relief;
    2. changing buying habits;
    3. strategies for saving money;
    4. custom designed payment plans; and
    5. advantages and challenges of all options, including payment plans and options for student loans, bankruptcy, DMPs, and self-administered payment plans.

  • FEC 5.03

    Education programs include information that addresses, as applicable:

    1. money management and budgeting;
    2. affordable levels of debt and debt warning signs;
    3. appropriate use of credit and alternatives to credit use;
    4. financial implications of student loan modification actions;
    5. types, sources, and costs of credit and loans;
    6. solving credit problems;
    7. obtaining and understanding credit reports;
    8. re-establishing credit; and
    9. alternatives to bankruptcy.

  • FEC 5.04

    Clients are educated about the advantages of developing a budget, including how to:

    1. establish short and long-term financial goals and how to achieve them;
    2. calculate gross and net monthly income; and
    3. identify and classify monthly expenses as fixed, variable, or periodic.

  • FEC 5.05

    Money-management education includes information about:

    1. how to maintain adequate financial records;
    2. making decisions about purchases based on wants and needs;
    3. the value of insurance coverage; and
    4. saving for emergencies, periodic expenses, and long-term goals.

  • FEC 5.06

    The organization provides, either directly or through contractual arrangements:

    1. counseling and education programs to a wide range of groups through various mediums, such as online technology, in educational settings, in public settings, and in the potential service area; and
    2. information about its services to potential referral sources, such as employee assistance programs and social service organizations.

    Interpretation: Audiences can include high schools, trade schools, adult education programs, colleges and universities, civic organizations, religious organizations, and the military, if located in the area.


  • FEC 5.07

    The organization measures the effectiveness of counseling and education programs.

    Interpretation: Evidence of effectiveness may be established through, for example, pre- and post-testing, or presentation evaluations.

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