Private Organization Accreditation

Lutheran Social Services of New England is a high-performing nonprofit organization. LSS is a powerful difference maker and go-to resource, driving ourselves to constantly anticipate futures that are different from the past. For 140 years, LSS has been caring for people in need in New England.


ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions

Tim Spearin, Vice President, Quality Assurance

ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions has been accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) since 1996.  Reaccreditation attests that a member organization continues to meet the highest national operating standards as set by the COA.  It also provides assurance that ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions is performing services which the community needs, conducting its operations and funds successfully.
read more>>


Child and Family Services promote child and family well-being, protect children’s safety, stablilize and strengthen families, and ensure permanency.

PA-CFS 2: Collaboration and Partnerships

The agency takes a comprehensive, community-based approach that:

  1. ensures awareness and accessibility of available services;
  2. facilitates information sharing both within the agency and across the service delivery system;
  3. meets the needs of local communities’ children and families; 
  4. supports the agency’s partners in their work with children and families; and 
  5. promotes safety, permanency, and well-being. 

Interpretation: Emerging trends in child welfare point to the need to look at issues such as unregulated custody transfer and child trafficking. The agency should partner with other organizations and agencies to educate them about these trends, encourage them to bring families at risk to the agency’s attention, and coordinate with other providers in the community to meet families’ needs.

Note: For additonal expectations regarding community collaboration and partnerships please see PA-AM 6: “Service Array and Resource Development,” and PA-AM 5: “Community and Provider Engagement.” See PA-CFS 5.10 for expectations when the agency collaborates with law enforcement or other parties to respond to allegations of child maltreatment.

Rating Indicators
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. 
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.  
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  
  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.   
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner. 
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.   
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.  
Please see Rating Guidance for additional rating examples. 

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • A description of: 
      1. Community outreach and education efforts
      2. Collaboration and partnerships with other service providers and systems
    • Procedures for: 
      1. Collaborating with other service providers and systems, including for information sharing
      2. Sharing information internally
    • Guidelines for how workers are provided with up-to-date information about community services
    • Minutes from meetings with other service providers and systems, if available
    • Local community resource and referral list(s)
    • Training curricula for educating personnel on other agencies and systems
    • Community outreach materials
    • Contracts or service agreements, when applicable
    • Interview:
      1. Agency leadership
      2. Relevant personnel
    • Review case records

  • PA-CFS 2.01

    The agency conducts ongoing outreach within local communities to ensure awareness of:

    1. the role and responsibilities of the agency;
    2. the range of services offered to children and families at risk of abuse or neglect, and how to access them;
    3. how to recognize and report cases of suspected child abuse and neglect; 
    4. the needs of children, families, and resource families; 
    5. the critical and valuable role that resource parents have; and 
    6. how to become a resource parent. 

    Interpretation: Regarding element (c), outreach should include education about: (1) state statutes and agency guidelines related to child maltreatment, and the types of cases that should be reported to child protective services; (2) the type of information needed in a report; and (3) how to file a report.  Some agencies may also find it beneficial to incorporate a cultural awareness approach and include guidance designed to assist potential reporters in distinguishing neglect from poverty.

    Note: See PA-CFS 23 for more information on resource family recruitment. 

  • PA-CFS 2.02

    The agency promotes the delivery and coordination of services across systems by:

    1. facilitating timely and consistent referrals for assessments and services;
    2. helping family members navigate systems and access needed services;
    3. coordinating service planning with the other organizations and agencies involved with children and families;
    4. communicating with other involved service providers and systems in a regular and timely manner to share information and monitor service participation and progress; and
    5. facilitating connections to services and systems that provide follow-up care, as needed.

    Interpretation: Other involved organizations, agencies, and systems may include, but are not limited to: health and mental health providers; substance use treatment providers; domestic violence advocates; educational institutions; and the judicial system, including both state and tribal courts. Providers will ideally develop and work off of a single service plan, and personnel should follow formal procedures for working with partners to share relevant information and coordinate service planning. While communication among providers is always important, it will be especially critical when providers work with family members regarding specific issues that may impact safety, such as substance use, mental health, and domestic violence.

    Note: See PA-CR 2 for more information on releasing confidential information to third parties, PA-CFS 8 for more information on service planning, PA-CFS 9 for more information on case review, PA-CFS 16 for more information on educational collaboration, and PA-CFS 18 for more information regarding the coordination of health and mental health services. See PA-AM 5 for more information regarding collaboration with the court.

    Research Note: Effective collaboration can support efforts to arrange and coordinate needed services across systems, ensure that service expectations are not competing or overwhelming, monitor progress, and make better decisions.

  • PA-CFS 2.03

    Agency personnel work cooperatively and follow formal procedures for sharing relevant information about a case internally: 

    1. when different workers are responsible for different components of service; and
    2. when responsibility for the case is transferred to a different worker. 

    Interpretation: Agency personnel should share information to facilitate case continuity and ensure that the needs of children, families, and resource families (or residential treatment providers) are met. For example, the information collected by licensing workers during resource parent assessments should be shared with caseworkers and inform ongoing work with children and resource families, and caseworkers’ ongoing work with children and resource families should be considered when updating resource family assessments and conducting annual reviews of strengths, needs, and performance. Similarly, workers arranging adoptions should access all relevant information about both children and prospective matches when identifying families that will develop lifelong relationships with the children.

  • PA-CFS 2.04

    In an effort to ensure that children and families can be connected with needed services and supports:

    1. workers have access to comprehensive, up-to-date information about culturally-relevant community services; and
    2. the agency partners with other organizations and agencies to encourage the development of needed resources when existing services are lacking or inadequate.

  • PA-CFS 2.05

    The agency supports the development of a comprehensive, cohesive, and integrated service system by:

    1. educating personnel about other organizations, agencies, and systems working with children and families; and
    2. educating other organizations, agencies, and systems about the child welfare system and the needs of children and families it serves.

    Interpretation: Education should be designed to promote a better understanding of different organizations’ and agencies’ roles, responsibilities, perspectives, goals, experiences, and limits, as well as the needs of both the children and parents served by those organizations and agencies.

Copyright © 2019 Council on Accreditation. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy and Terms of Use