At a time when most are thinking about the holidays – giving thanks and looking forward to sharing gifts and good times with family and friends – Family & Children’s Place is busy getting ready for reaccreditation. Staff is still providing trauma-informed hope and healing, but also readying mountains of proof-providing paperwork and for a site visit by independent evaluators.
Accreditation is a once every four years process – one we voluntarily pursue – that demonstrates excellence in services and programs. It’s important to us and to the children and families we serve, proving that:
- Services are delivered by appropriately trained staff
- Clients participate in the decision-making process of service delivery
- Services are provided in a safe and respectful environment
- Privacy is protected
- Services support positive outcomes
- Services are culturally competent
The process began months ago, headed by our Vice President of Programs, Donna Russow, with help from everyone across the agency. It’s intensive, time-consuming and worth every second of effort as it gives clients peace of mind and comfort knowing they’re getting best in class care in every program at every level.
Vetting is by the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. It was founded in 1977 by the Child Welfare League of America and Family Service America (now the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities) to partner with human service organizations globally to ensure exceptional service delivery outcomes.
Among agencies routinely accredited are those providing homeless services, mental health, substance abuse, child and family, aging, and services for people with developmental disabilities. Family & Children’s Place has been an accredited agency for a number of years and this year is seeking additional accreditation for our Supervised Visitation Center, which provides a safe place for visits/ exchanges for children and families impacted by violence and for children removed from their home due to abuse/severe neglect.
Reaccreditation blends a detailed review of records with onsite visits by independent evaluators who check and verify processes, review recordkeeping and privacy policies, and critically check casework for appropriateness and plans for treatment and recovery. During their onsite visit, evaluators interview staff, leadership, board members and clients and physically visit facilities to review records, equipment, safety and staffing.
It’s stressful and sometimes tough to squeeze in the time to prepare as we continue to help clients across all our programs – Family Stabilization, Child & Family Services, Family & School Services, HANDS, PAL, and the Kosair Charities Child Advocacy Center – but it’s a worthwhile stress.
In the end, accreditation affirms that we don’t just promise exceptional services, we deliver them. That we recruit, hire and train only professional staff; that our facilities and programs are research based and proven effective; that we measure ourselves against strict metrics; and that finances are in order and we conduct business ethically.
Our clients benefit, but so, too, do our donors, who are assured we deliver high quality and cost efficient services, and that we are sound stewards of their support.
Reaccreditation reinforces our integrity as a high performing agency and service provider and the designation positions us a part of a very elite group of providers who operate to the highest standards.
We consider reaccreditation a key piece of our client-centered and family-focused DNA.