Private Organization Accreditation

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Savannah Area's mission is to provide the best non-profit community service, dedicated to delivering professional and confidential counseling, debt management, housing counseling and consumer education to all segments of the community regardless of ability to pay.


Family Services of the North Shore

Kathleen Whyte, Manager of Human Resources / Accreditation Coordinator

Family Services of the North Shore is about to enter our third accreditation cycle with COA. Accreditation has provided us with a framework that enables us to demonstrate accountability to our clients, our funders and our donors. There is no question that the accreditation process and COA have benefited our agency.
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Adults with serious and persistent mental illness who participate in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services achieve their highest level of self-sufficiency and recovery through gains in personal empowerment, hopefulness, and competency.

PSR 2: Screening and Intake

The organization’s screening and intake practices ensure that applicants receive prompt and responsive access to appropriate services.

Note: Organizations should review state Medicaid plans or other third party reimbursement requirement to ensure they are meeting required timeframes for conducting assessments. 

Rating Indicators
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted, however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • Referrals procedures need strengthening; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met;
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
  • In a few rare instances urgent needs were not prioritized.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Urgent needs are often not prioritized, or
  • Services are frequently not initiated in a timely manner; or
  • Applicants are not receiving referrals, as appropriate; or
  • A number of client records are missing important information  or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • Screening and intake done by referral source and no documentation and/or summary of required information present in case record; or
  • One of the Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • There are no written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing; or  
  • Two or more Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Screening and intake procedures
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Clinical or program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Individuals or families served
    • Review case records

  • PSR 2.01

    Individuals are screened and informed about:

    1. how well the individual’s request matches the organization’s services; and
    2. what services will be available and when.

    NA Another organization is responsible for screening, as defined in a contract.

  • PSR 2.02

    The organization provides or recommends the most appropriate and least restrictive or intrusive service alternative for the person.

  • PSR 2.03

    Prompt, responsive intake practices:

    1. are culturally responsive;
    2. are trauma-informed;
    3. ensure equitable treatment;
    4. give priority to urgent needs and emergency situations;
    5. support timely initiation of services; and
    6. provide for placement on a waiting list, if applicable.

    Interpretation: Vulnerable populations such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, are at high risk of violence and harassment. The organization should ensure these service recipients are safe and welcomed by staff. To ensure that transgender individuals are treated with respect and feel safe, intake forms and procedures should allow individuals to self-identify their gender as well as their first name and preferred pronouns.

    Note: Refer to the interpretation at PSR 1 regarding the definition of “culturally-reponsive.”

  • PSR 2.04

    Individuals who cannot be served, or cannot be served promptly, are referred or connected to appropriate resources.

    Interpretation: When it is not possible to directly connect the individual to services, documentation of such and the reason why is provided in the case record, including why the organization is unable to connect them to services.

    NA The organization accepts all clients.

  • PSR 2.05

    During intake, the organization gathers information to identify critical service needs and/or determine when a more intensive service is necessary, including:

    1. personal and identifying information;
    2. health and mental status, including emergency health needs; and
    3. safety concerns, including imminent danger or risk of future harm.

    Interpretation: Organization may respond to identified suicide risk by connecting the individual to more intensive services; facilitating the development of a safety and/or crisis plan; or contacting emergency responders, 24-hour mobile crisis teams, emergency crisis intervention services, crisis stabilization, or 24-hour crisis hotlines, as appropriate.

  • PSR 2.06

    The organization defines in writing:

    1. eligibility criteria;
    2. scope of services and supports, special areas of expertise and range of behavioral/emotional concerns addressed;
    3. opportunities for active family participation and support; and
    4. opportunities for active participation in community activities.

    Research Note: The literature indicates the more information individuals receive during screening and intake, the more likely it is they will remain engaged in the services.

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