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.


Advantage Credit Counseling Service

Mary Loftus, VP, Agency Service

Our agency is preparing for reaccreditation under the Eighth Edition Standards. The COA site is well organized and very easy to use. Our team of employees working on the reaccreditation process has found the tools index to be very helpful, particularly some of the templates.
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Individuals participating in Mentoring Services develop supportive, positive relationships that contribute to the achievement of personal, social, and educational growth.

MS 4: Screening and Selection of Mentors

Prospective mentors are screened to determine their suitability for the role and to safeguard and promote the well-being of mentees.

Note: The standards in MS 4 should be incorporated into the organization’s hiring practices for the mentoring program (see HR 3) when paid program staff are used as mentors.

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
    • Screening and assessment procedures and criteria for prospective mentors
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Mentor supervisors/coordinators
      3. Mentors 
    • Review personnel and case files for mentors

  • FP
    MS 4.01

    The mentor screening process includes:

    1. a written application;
    2. an in-person interview that includes an assessment of the applicant’s motivation for becoming a mentor;
    3. reference checks;
    4. criminal history checks, where legally permissible; and
    5. child abuse registry checks, where legally permissible.

    Interpretation: The screening process is to be completed before a prospective mentor serves children, youth, or dependent adults in any capacity. An organization’s procedures should clearly detail what qualities and qualifications it is seeking in its mentors and what characteristics would disqualify a prospective mentor from participating in the program.

    Interpretation: For programs utilizing mentors with lived experience, such as mentors who were victims of human trafficking or those with a history of drug or alcohol use, the mentor may have a criminal history of prostitution or other minor charges which should not disqualify the mentor from the program.

    Interpretation: For survivor mentoring programs utilizing mentors who are not survivors of human trafficking, additional consideration should be given to assessing mentor qualifications, including, but not limited to, education, experience working with children, and commitment to maintaining the mentoring relationship regardless of the residential placement or location of the mentees. 

    Note: If mentors have opportunities to transport mentees, the organization should also review their driving records, as referenced in ASE 6.03.

    Research Note: Congress has extended SafetyNET, a pilot program developed to support the mentor selection process for programs serving children and youth with fitness determinations through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Fitness determinations are based upon nationwide, fingerprint-based criminal background checks performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Organizations can apply for this service through MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership for a nominal fee.

  • MS 4.02

    A prospective mentor’s availability and/or caseload size are assessed to determine if there will be sufficient time to establish and maintain a strong mentoring relationship with a prospective mentee.

    Interpretation: The organization should clearly communicate expectations regarding: (1) how frequently mentors and mentees will meet, and (2) the minimum length of time mentors need to commit to the program. Although expectations can vary based on program type and model, many programs ask mentors to meet with mentees at least one hour per week, or for several hours once or twice a month, for at least a year.

    Interpretation: There are a number of factors that impact how many relationships an individual mentor can take on including:

    1. whether the mentor is paid or volunteer:
    2. whether the mentor is full-time or part-time;
    3. the number of hours committed by the mentor;
    4. the program’s model and objectives; and 
    5. the service population in question. 

    Note: See Research Note to MS 7.01.

  • MS 4.03

    The organization assesses whether the prospective mentor’s personal qualities will facilitate the development of a trust-based relationship centered on the mentee.

    Note: See Research Note to MS 6.02

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