WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Sweetser, a Maine non-profit agency operating since 1828, provides comprehensive mental and behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services. Statewide, it serves around 15,000 consumers a year, including children, adults, and families in outpatient, office-based, and residential settings.
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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Inc.

Donna Mathews, Associate Director

Becoming accredited and maintaining our accreditation through COA has helped us increase our professionalism and thereby provide better services to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence survivors.
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Purpose

Clients who receive Financial Education and Counseling services learn to solve financial problems and gain personal financial management skills.

PA-FEC 5: Financial Education and Counseling Services

The agency supports and delivers a variety of counseling and education services on family money management, budgeting, and the prudent, intelligent use of credit.

Rating Indicators
1
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. 
2
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.  
3
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.
4
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
    • Financial counseling procedures
    • Financial education materials provided to clients
    • Educational program curricula
    • Information about individual and group education and counseling programs including program dates, subjects, number of participants, and participant evaluations
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Clients
    • Review client files

  • FP
    PA-FEC 5.01

    The agency educates clients and provides general information about:

    1. their rights;
    2. public and non-profit resources that can offer assistance; and
    3. applicable laws and regulations.

    Interpretation: Applicable laws and regulations may include the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Gramm-Leach Bliley Act, and other consumer credit legislation and regulations.


  • PA-FEC 5.02

    Counseling and education services offer the full range of options to address debt problems, and include information about:

    1. negotiating directly with creditors on payment or interest rate relief;
    2. changing buying habits;
    3. strategies for saving money;
    4. custom designed payment plans; and
    5. advantages and challenges of all options, including payment plans and options for student loans, bankruptcy, DMPs, and self-administered payment plans.

    Update:

    • Added NA - 06/01/18
       

    NA The agency provides Housing Counseling and Education Services only.


  • PA-FEC 5.03

    Education programs include information that addresses, as applicable:

    1. money management and budgeting;
    2. affordable levels of debt and debt warning signs;
    3. appropriate use of credit and alternatives to credit use;
    4. financial implications of student loan modification actions;
    5. types, sources, and costs of credit and loans;
    6. solving credit problems;
    7. obtaining and understanding credit reports;
    8. re-establishing credit; and
    9. alternatives to bankruptcy.

  • PA-FEC 5.04

    Clients are educated about the advantages of developing a budget, including how to:

    1. establish short and long-term financial goals and how to achieve them;
    2. calculate gross and net monthly income; and
    3. identify and classify monthly expenses as fixed, variable, or periodic.

  • PA-FEC 5.05

    Money-management education includes information about:

    1. how to maintain adequate financial records;
    2. making decisions about purchases based on wants and needs;
    3. the value of insurance coverage; and
    4. d. saving for emergencies, periodic expenses, and long-term goals.

  • PA-FEC 5.06

    The agency provides, either directly or through contractual arrangements:

    1. counseling and education programs to a wide range of groups through various mediums, such as online technology, in educational settings, in public settings, and in the potential service area; and
    2. information about its services to potential referral sources, such as employee assistance programs and social service agencies.

    Interpretation: Audiences can include high schools, trade schools, adult education programs, colleges and universities, civic organizations, religious organizations, and the military, if located in the area.


  • PA-FEC 5.07

    The agency measures the effectiveness of counseling and education programs.

    Interpretation: Evidence of effectiveness may be established through, for example, pre- and post-testing, or presentation evaluations.

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