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.


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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Juvenile Justice Day Services promote public safety and reduce the need for out-of-home placements by allowing youth to reside in their communities while they address problems and develop the attitudes and skills needed to make responsible choices, avoid negative behaviors, and become productive, connected, and law-abiding members of their communities.

JJD 1: Engagement and Assessment

The organization contacts youth promptly, and conducts assessments that identify risks, needs, and strengths and are the basis for service planning and delivery.

Interpretation: COA recognizes that youth may be screened and assessed elsewhere before they are referred to the organization. However, the organization can still take steps to further evaluate youth after referral. At minimum, the organization should review the results of previous assessments to ensure they meet COA’s standards, and conduct additional assessments if those done previously are insufficient.

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
  • Culturally responsive assessments are the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations (HR 6.02) and training (TS 2.05); or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent; or
  • Diagnostic tests are consistently and appropriately used, but interviews with staff indicate a need for more training (TS 2.08).
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
  • Assessment and reassessment timeframes are often missed; or
  • Assessment are sometimes not sufficiently individualized;
  • Culturally responsive assessments are not the norm and this is not being addressed in supervision or training; or
  • Staff are not competent to administer diagnostic tests , or tests are not being used when clinically indicated; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • Assessments are done by referral source and no documentation and/or summary of required information present in case record; 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.,
  • There are 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
    • Screening and intake procedures
    • Assessment procedures
    • Assessment tool and/or criteria
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Youth served
    • Review case records

  • JJD 1.01

    To promote safety and support timely initiation of services, the organization responds to referrals by:

    1. contacting youth promptly, within specified timeframes;
    2. gathering personal and identifying information;
    3. screening youth to identify emergency health needs and safety concerns, such as imminent danger or risk of future harm; and
    4. determining whether youth are appropriate for the program

    Interpretation: When youth are deemed inappropriate the organization should transfer them to more appropriate programs, or advocate for transfer with the court or public agency with jurisdiction over youth. Organizations required by contract to accept all referrals may not be able to advocate for transfer, and should make every effort to ensure youth are referred to them only when services and supervision provided are a good match for youth, as referenced in JJD 4.01.

    When another party (such as the court) determines the date youth are to report to the program, it may not be relevant for the organization to contact youth. However, the organization should follow up if youth do not report as scheduled, and should still evaluate youths’ appropriateness.

  • JJD 1.02

    Comprehensive assessments are conducted in a standardized manner, and identify:

    1. youths’ problems and needs;
    2. youths’ strengths and assets; and
    3. risks youth pose to the community.

    Interpretation: Relevant areas to consider include a youth’s social skills and behavior, physical and mental health, substance use, family, education, and vocation. Special attention should be paid to any concerns identified in previous screenings and assessments.

    When possible, assessments should be based on multiple sources of information, including youth interviews, observations of youths’ behavior, interviews with family members and previous service providers, and case records. Organizations that do not have the resources to comprehensively assess all youth in all relevant areas, for example, mental health, may conduct systematic service need screenings to determine when youth are in need of more in-depth assessments.

    When a program is designed to provide less-intensive day services, it may be appropriate to complete a more minimal assessment.

    Interpretation: The Assessment Matrix - Private, Public, Canadian, Network determines which level of assessment is required for COA’s Service Sections. The assessment elements of the Matrix can be tailored according to the needs of specific individuals or service design.

  • JJD 1.03

    Personnel who conduct assessments are qualified by relevant training, skill, and experience, and can recognize youth with special needs.

  • JJD 1.04

    When youth are in need of further evaluation, the organization promptly provides or arranges for specialized assessments.

  • JJD 1.05

    Assessments are conducted in a responsive manner that includes attention to age, developmental level, gender, language, culture, race, ethnicity, religion, geographic location, sexual orientation, and trauma history.

  • JJD 1.06

    Assessments are conducted within specified timeframes and are updated periodically.

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