Private Organization Accreditation

Family Services of Southeast Texas strengthens families through accessible, affordable counseling services and education for issues affecting family life, mental health and employment.  We also provide comprehensive domestic violence shelter and support services.


Catholic Charities, Diocese of Covington

Wm. R. (Bill) Jones, ACSW, MDiv, Chief Executive Officer

Catholic Charities in Covington has been COA accredited since 1996. Though the time spent in completing the self study and hosting the site visit can sometimes feel sometimes daunting, the rewards far outweigh the effort. In our agency, the self-study is a group process that involves every member of the staff from the CEO to the building maintenance staff.
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Immigrants receive timely and appropriate support and assistance in accessing legal information, advice, lawful permanent residency, citizenship, and/or other forms of immigration relief.

PA-ILS 6: Personnel

Personnel and volunteers provide immigration legal services under the supervision of trained professionals.

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
    • Program staffing chart that includes lines of supervision
    • List of program personnel that includes:
      1. name  
      2. title
      3. degree held and/or other credentials
      4. FTE or volunteer
      5. length of service at the agency
      6. time in current position
    • Table of contents of training curricula
    • Procedures and criteria used for assigning and evaluating workloads
    • Documentation of agency recognition and staff accreditation by Board of Immigration Appeals or evidence of a valid law license
    • Job descriptions including volunteers, as applicable
    • Training curricula
    • Documentation of training
    • Law library resources/materials
    • Interview:
      1. Supervisors 
      2. Personnel 
    • Review personnel records

  • PA-ILS 6.01

    The agency either has a licensed attorney on staff or is recognized by, and employs staff or has volunteers accredited by, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) of the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Interpretation: The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 8 CFR §1292.2(a) specifies qualifications of organizations to be recognized. The standard is: “A non-profit religious, charitable, social service or similar organization established in the United States and recognized as such by the Board may designate a representative or representatives to practice before the Board. Such organization must establish to the satisfaction of the Board that: (1) It makes only nominal charges and assesses no excessive membership dues for persons given assistance; and (2) It has at its disposal adequate knowledge, information and experience.” Section 1292.2(d) of 8 CFR states that accredited representatives must be “of good moral character.” 

  • PA-ILS 6.02

    Immigration legal services, including screening, information and other direct services, are provided by personnel who are competent in and/or have received training on: 
    1. immigration law, policies, and procedures; 
    2. legal ethics and client confidentiality; and
    3. referral mechanisms to help service recipients with immigration issues.

    Interpretation: Legal service providers should be aware of and follow the ethics outlined by their State Bar.

  • PA-ILS 6.03

    Supervisors provide case management, oversight, and appropriate support to staff.

    Interpretation: If supervisors are not knowledgeable in immigration law, staff have access to technical assistance and quality control through another individual or agency.

  • PA-ILS 6.04

    Legal staff members and volunteers: 
    1. have adequate knowledge, information, training, and experience in immigration law; 
    2. meet high standards of ethical and moral conduct;  
    3. have BIA accreditation, unless they are licensed attorneys; 
    4. maintain their BIA accreditation and have access to regular, ongoing training on immigration law; and
    5. have access to up-to-date immigration law library resources and materials.

  • PA-ILS 6.05

    Personnel maintain a manageable workload and assignments are made and reviewed regularly with due consideration for: 
    1. the qualifications and competencies of direct service personnel and supervisors; 
    2. case complexity; 
    3. case status, and progress toward achievement of desired outcomes; and
    4. special assessment, service planning, treatment and legal issues involved in caring for vulnerable populations such as  children, youth, survivors of domestic violence, and trafficked individuals, as applicable.

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