Private Organization Accreditation

Catholic Charities alleviates human suffering and improves the quality of life of 100,000 people annually, regardless of religious background. A staff of 600 provides support and services related to housing, food, mental health, children's services, addiction treatment, and domestic violence services.


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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Children, youth, and adults who participate in Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities achieve full integration and inclusion in the mainstream, make choices, exert control over their lives, and fully participate in, and contribute to, their communities.

PA-DDS 6: Social Inclusion and Community Participation

Persons with developmental disabilities and their families can access a broad spectrum of community services and supports designed to build independence and help them exercise their rights, privileges, and responsibilities as full members of the community.

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 services
    • Training, educational, and other material provided to individuals served regarding sexuality and relationships
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Individuals served
    • Review case records

  • PA-DDS 6.01

    The agency supports persons with developmental disabilities to establish meaningful social relationships, build and maintain natural support systems, exercise their rights and responsibilities, and participate in the life of their community by:

    1. identifying and pursuing the types of social roles, as well as family and other relationships, the individual wishes to pursue;
    2. providing opportunities for social and physical interaction with persons, in addition to service providers and recipients; and
    3. achieving an optimal level of community involvement and participation.

  • PA-DDS 6.02

    Individuals with developmental disabilities receive services and supports that are tailored to their individual needs and help them fully interact with the community and achieve maximum independence in the least restrictive environment.

    Interpretation: Services and supports can include:

    1. adult foster care or kinship care;
    2. education;
    3. employment, including supported employment;
    4. health and behavioral health services;
    5. housing services and supports;
    6. in-home support;
    7. recreation;
    8. volunteerism;
    9. religious and spiritual supports;
    10. mentoring services; and
    11. transportation.

    Services and supports for children and youth with developmental disabilities can also include:

    1. after-school programs;
    2. education support; and
    3. mentoring.

  • FP
    PA-DDS 6.03

    Individuals with developmental disabilities receive appropriate support and education regarding sexuality and relationships, including:

    1. sexual health and development;
    2. family planning and pregnancy prevention;
    3. prevention of STDs and HIV/AIDS; and
    4. prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation.

    Research Note: The literature suggests that women with developmental disabilities are far more likely to be victims of sexual and other violence than women in the general population.

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