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.


Holy Family Institute

Sister Linda Yankoski, President/CEO

The Council On Accreditation provides all stakeholders involved in the delivery of social services the assurance that the organization is credible, effective, and is committed to quality improvement. The COA process is an important tool for anyone involved in leading an organization to establish best practices and maintaining and updating these practices over time.
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Child and Family Services promote child and family well-being, protect children’s safety, stablilize and strengthen families, and ensure permanency.

PA-CFS 1: Service Philosophy

The agency’s work with children and families is guided by a service philosophy or practice model that is the basis for a program or logic model that establishes how program activities, outputs, and outcomes will lead to positive outcomes for children and families, and: 

  1. emphasizes the importance of safety, permanency, and well-being;
  2. reflects the input of children, families, resource families, and community partners;
  3. is grounded in the social and cultural contexts of the communities it serves; 
  4. is based on the best available evidence of practice effectiveness; and
  5. is understood and embraced by personnel and informs all aspects of practice, including policies, procedures, and partnerships with children, families, resource families, and collaborating providers.

Interpretation: A program or logic model can be a useful tool to help personnel think systematically about how the agency can make a measureable difference by drawing a clear connection between the service population’s needs, available resources, program activities and interventions, program outputs, and desired outcomes. The agency should also strive to establish advisory committees comprised of youth, birth families, kinship caregivers, and foster and adoptive families who can provide input regarding the agency and its approach to service.

Note: As noted in PA-PQI 2.03, stakeholder involvement is crucial to the agency’s ability to achieve its mission and ensure public trust. See PA-PQI 2.03 for more information regarding stakeholder engagement.

Research Note: Many child welfare systems are implementing a practice model approach for service delivery, in their efforts to sustain system reform and practice change. A practice model links the agency’s mission, practice principles, and standards of professional practice with the strategies, methods, and tools needed to integrate these into daily work. It should be prescriptive as to how services are provided, based on the agency’s policy and procedure, but allow enough flexibility to support individualized, family-centered practice. A practice model is intended to be shared with all personnel and stakeholders, so the system can work to provide congruent and coordinated services. 

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Service philosophy or practice model
    • Program or logic model
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Agency leadership
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Children and families served
      4. Resource parents
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