Private Organization Accreditation

Catholic Charities alleviates human suffering and improves the quality of life of 100,000 people annually, regardless of religious background. A staff of 600 provides support and services related to housing, food, mental health, children's services, addiction treatment, and domestic violence services.


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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Job seekers who receive workforce development, support, and financial asset building services achieve increased economic self-sufficiency through the attainment and retention of jobs in the community and the promotion of asset accumulation.

WDS 8: Financial Asset Building Services

The organization encourages asset accumulation by working with the individual to save, build assets, manage resources, and plan for crisis.

Research Note: Employment alone is not necessarily enough to achieve economic self-sufficiency. The literature states that the inability to accumulate wealth keeps families in poverty for generations. Low income families are particularly vulnerable to financial crises that can strip them of their assets; therefore, financial assets such as homeownership, savings, investment, and financial resource management skills enable individuals and families to achieve economic security.

NA The organization does not provide financial asset building services.

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
    • A description of financial asset building services
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Individuals served
    • Review case records

  • WDS 8.01

    The organization helps the individual overcome barriers to asset building, such as:

    1. insufficient income;
    2. inadequate training or education;
    3. lack of affordable and safe housing;
    4. family responsibilities;
    5. lack of affordable and quality child care; and
    6. transportation needs.

  • WDS 8.02

    The organization works with the individual to develop a plan for financial resource management including:

    1. goal setting;
    2. long- and short-term financial planning;
    3. record keeping; and
    4. controlled spending.

  • WDS 8.03

    The organization works with the individual to establish a crisis plan in case of financial hardship brought on by life events such as unexpected job loss, natural disaster, or illness.

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