Private Organization Accreditation

Stillwater-based FamilyMeans provides services in budget and credit counseling, mental health, collaborative divorce, caregiver support, youth programming, and an employee assistance program. 


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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An agency-wide Performance and Quality Improvement system effectively engages staff, persons served, and other stakeholders in advancing the agency’s mission and achieving strategic goals through continuous, integrated, data-driven efforts to improve service delivery and administrative practice.

PA-PQI 6: Gathering Data and Communicating Information

The agency’s data management practices facilitate the collection, analysis, communication and interpretation of data.

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 administration and management 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
    County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
    • Policies and/or procedures for:
      1. Maintaining and accessing PQI data (PA-PQI 6.01)
      2. Data management (PA-PQI 6.02)
      3. Reviewing and aggregating data (PA-PQI 6.03)
    • Aggregate data reports and additional summary documents (e.g., performance dashboards, reports of gains made against goals, annual scorecards, etc.) (PA-PQI 6.04)
    • Documentation of stakeholder review and discussion of PQI results, including meeting minutes and agendas for the previous 3 meetings (PA-PQI 6.05)
    • Documentation of reporting to:
      1. staff, oversight entities, and stakeholders at least annually (PA-PQI 6.06)
      2. the public (PA-PQI 6.07)
    State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
    • Aggregate data reports and additional summary documents (e.g., performance dashboards, reports of gains made against goals, annual scorecards, etc.) (PA-PQI 6.04)
    • Documentation of stakeholder review and discussion of PQI results, including meeting minutes and agendas for the previous 3 meetings (PA-PQI 6.05)
    • Documentation of reporting to:
      1. staff, oversight entities, and stakeholders at least annually (PA-PQI 6.06)
      2. the public (PA-PQI 6.07)
    All Agencies
    • See PQI meeting minutes in PA-PQI 1
    All Agencies
    • Interview:
      1. PQI staff
      2. Relevant staff 
    • Review of information systems functioning regarding collecting, analyzing, and communicating data

  • PA-PQI 6.01

    The agency’s information systems ensure timely access to PQI data in order to support informed decision-making at the worker, program, region/community, agency, and system level.

    Note:  The need for, and use of, technology related to maintenance of PQI data should be addressed in the agency’s written technology and information management plan as described in PA-RPM 5.01. 
    Note: Please see PA-RPM 5 for more detailed information on the information systems.

  • PA-PQI 6.02

    Data is collected and maintained in a manner that allows for:
    1. tracking and monitoring identified measures;
    2. identifying patterns and trends;
    3. comparing performance over time; and
    4. comparing data against the results of internal or external targets or benchmarks, when appropriate.

    Research Note: While research has identified significant racial and ethnic outcome disparities in public child welfare, inconsistent collection of race and ethnicity data often impedes analysis at the state and local level.  As such, agency reporting systems should collect data on race and ethnicity and have the capacity to track and identify racial and ethnic disparities in outcomes and access to services for children and families. 

  • PA-PQI 6.03

    Procedures for collecting, reviewing and aggregating data: 
    1. ensure data integrity and reliability;
    2. engage staff at all levels of the agency, including frontline staff; and
    3. facilitate the development of useable reports for analysis and interpretation.

  • PA-PQI 6.04

    Summary reports of PQI information: 
    1. are distributed in a timeframe and format that facilitates review, analysis, interpretation, and timely corrective action;
    2. reflect multiple data sources, when appropriate, including quantitative and qualitative data and formal and informal information gathered; 
    3. enable the comparison of data against the results of similar programs, internal or external benchmarks, etc.; and
    4. facilitate compliance with regulatory data reporting requirements. 

    Interpretation: The content and format of PQI summary reports should take into account the needs of regional and/or local offices to ensure the data is presented in a useful way that facilitates corrective action at the worker and program level.
    Interpretation: In regard to element (a), timely corrective action includes ensuring information is distributed early enough that regional and local offices can evaluate and implement changes prior to the next round of internal or external reviews. See PA-PQI 4.05 for more information on incorporating the findings of external review processes into the PQI system.
    In regard to element (d), in addition to the data itself, child and family services agencies participating in the Child and Family Services Reviews must be prepared to provide the federal government with:

    1. the data source;
    2. the methodology for calculating or analyzing the data;
    3.  the scope of the data (i.e. geographic, population, etc.);
    4. the time period applicable to the data;
    5.  information pertaining to the completeness, accuracy and reliability of the data; and
    6. other known limitations of the data.

    Research Note: Graphic presentation of data is very useful in communicating results of PQI activities. Data visualization techniques can facilitate understanding of complex information and reveal underlying patterns and relationships within the data that may otherwise go unnoticed.

  • PA-PQI 6.05

    The agency has  mechanisms for sharing and reviewing findings with staff and stakeholders including discussion of:
    1. areas of strength and quality practice;
    2. areas for improvement; and
    3. how to prioritize targeted areas, identify interventions, and monitor the effectiveness of interventions over time. 

    Interpretation: In order to engage in meaningful discussions about the data being collected, agencies need to decide how results will be communicated to staff and stakeholders. Agencies can start by determining who needs what data, with what frequency, and how best to share the information.
    Methods for sharing findings include:
    1. performance dashboards, report cards, or other types of summary reports;
    2. using monthly reports of key service delivery outcomes in staff supervision activities; 
    3. conducting focus groups and presentations at community meetings; 
    4. soliciting feedback via interviews or surveys;
    5. providing quarterly reports to the oversight entities, stakeholder advisory groups, and leaders on important data related to key operations and management functions; and
    6. quality review activities that engage community providers.

  • PA-PQI 6.06

    The agency has a mechanism for reporting, at least annually, to oversight entities, stakeholders, and staff on:
    1. key PQI activities that are ongoing, have been resolved, or that need further intervention;
    2. issues that require continued monitoring within the PQI system; and  
    3. PQI priorities and goals for the coming year.

  • PA-PQI 6.07

    The agency shares PQI information with the public as part of its public outreach and education strategy.

    Note:  See PA-AM 7.01 for more information on developing a public outreach and education strategy.

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