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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Shelter Services meet the basic needs of individuals and families who are homeless or in transition, support family stabilization or independent living, and facilitate access to services and permanent housing. 

SH 11: Developmentally Appropriate Programs for Children and Youth

Programs that serve children and youth provide a program that meets their social, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, linguistic, and physical development needs. 

NA The organization does not provide shelter for runaway and homeless children and youth, children and youth in foster care, or unaccompanied children without legal status.

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
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations (HR 6.02) and training (TS 2.03); or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
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
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • A number of client records are missing important information  or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; 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.,
  • 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
    • Rules and behavioral expectations
    • Schedule of social and recreational activities
    • List of community programs and services and information on how to access them
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Individuals served
    • Review case records
    • Observe facility

  • FP
    SH 11.01

    The program serves children and youth in a supportive setting that:

    1. enables them to feel physically and psychologically safe and secure; and
    2. provides a developmentally appropriate structure, with clear and consistent rules and behavioral expectations that are developed with their participation.

    Interpretation: Programs need to provide an affirming, safe, and welcoming environment for all youth. In addition, youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) are greatly overrepresented among youth experiencing homelessness. Once homeless, these youths are at increased risk for physical and sexual harassment, violence and exploitation. To assist youth who identify as LGBTQ with appropriate referrals, programs should maintain a list of community centers, medical and behavioral health clinics, and other service providers that are known to be affirming and competent in serving this population.

  • SH 11.02

    Children and youth are offered an organized daily program of age- and developmentally- appropriate social, recreational, and educational activities, in a child- and/or youth-friendly environment.

  • SH 11.03

    Youth have opportunities to participate in group activities to meet, support, and share experiences with peers, based on their assessed readiness to participate in these activities.

    Interpretation: Opportunities to participate in culturally appropriate social, cultural, recreational, and religious activities should be designed to expand the range of life experiences, and be sensitive to the needs of youth who identify as LGBTQ, indigenous groups, or youth with special needs.

  • SH 11.04

    Youth are helped to develop social support networks and build or maintain healthy, meaningful relationships with caring individuals.

    Interpretation: “Caring individuals” may include mentors, community members, friends, siblings, and other family members. The organization should be aware of any involvement that youths may have with their family members and other caring individuals and should (1) foster supportive relationships when it is safe and appropriate to do so, (2) ensure that all assessment activities explore relationships with family members and other caring individuals and potential for reconnection, and (3) assist youth in coping with or avoiding unhealthy relationships.

    Interpretation: The organization should work with the child/youth to identify individuals with whom they wish to maintain a relationship, especially when trafficking is suspected. Traffickers may pose as a significant other, older relative, or communicate through another individual and utilize visitation to continue the exploitation of the victim.

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