Accreditation in Action – The Children’s Village

The Children’s Village specializes in working with the most vulnerable children and families in the New York metropolitan region and beyond. The Children’s Village reaches thousands of children, teens and families through a variety of innovative community-based and residential programs. They have a strong commitment to national accreditation and the resulting benefits of being accredited, as highlighted below.A Childrens Village Logo Reg JPEG

1.  Which accreditation does your agency hold and for how long?

The Children’s Village has been accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) since 2004.

2.  What was the original reason(s) for becoming accredited?

The Children’s Village has always valued a commitment to excellence. We strive to provide quality services throughout all our programs. COA provides us with the framework to measure ourselves against best practices to assure we are providing high quality services to our youth, families and communities. Accreditation provides an important forum for us to share our successful innovations and our operational challenges with others. We also see accreditation as an opportunity to benchmark ourselves and learn from other nationally accredited organizations.

3.  How has accreditation impacted the operations or functioning of your organization?

Becoming accredited has strengthened our efforts to provide quality services at all levels within the organization. Utilizing COA standards at the start of new programs has provided us with a strong foundation to deliver quality services and to successfully meet the needs of those we serve. In addition, we are continually analyzing and assessing our work through various evaluations, tracking methods and conducting surveys at all levels to ensure we are providing quality services and identifying areas for improvement.

4.  What advice would you give to an organization becoming accredited for the first time?

Accreditation is more than meeting standards. Preparing for Accreditation means taking an in-depth look at agency performance overall, keeping up to date on policies and procedures, updating information as there are changes in practice, and using the knowledge gained to innovate and expand our impact. The process does not end once accreditation is earned. Going forward, accreditation guidelines should be at the forefront of all decisions and implementation of programs, policies, procedures, etc. to maintain performance levels commensurate with the best practices of others in our field.

5.  How did you motivate staff during the self-study and/or site visit phase?

 Staff motivation and engagement is critical during the accreditation and reaccreditation processes. Presenting the process as a collaborative, agency-wide initiative is an essential component of motivating staff. While preparing for accreditation we organized a COA committee comprised of individuals from different areas within the agency. All program leadership were assigned a COA program champion (someone from the COA Committee) who was responsible for keeping leadership informed of (re)accreditation activities and answer all questions or concerns that arose. The COA Committee also collaboratively identified strategies for the accreditation process, developed appropriate timelines for activities, identified useful trainings for staff and prepared mock site visits.

In addition, COA remained a standing agenda item on the agency’s administrative team meetings to discuss accreditation preparation phases, provide timely progress reports and to recognize potential challenges in the process should they arise.

6.  What is one way that accreditation has added value to you organization’s name recognition in the community you serve or to your outreach/public relations efforts?

We take great pride in our accreditation and our success is shared widely and often, including on our website, public relations and printed materials and funding applications.

7.  How did your organization celebrate becoming (re)accredited?

Even though we have maintained accreditation for more than 10 years, our celebration remains continuous. Some ways that we show our appreciation for our staff contributions include providing celebratory meals, hosting unit parties and honoring individuals with ‘shooting stars’ to recognize exceptional work. We also have presented team leaders and key contributors to our board of trustees.

About The Children’s Village:

Since 1851, The Children’s Village has been serving vulnerable children and families in need in the New York metropolitan area.

Our Mission:

Our mission is to work in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities.

We believe in four keys to success:

  • Education is a pathway to opportunity
  • A commitment to excellence is both a personal and organizational responsibility
  • Positive relationships play a key role in inspiring and supporting personal success
  • The power of diversity can enrich us all and should be celebrated

Our service programs include:

  • Achievement-focused residential school serving ages 6-18
  • Immigrant youth shelter
  • Runaway and homeless shelter
  • Adoption and foster homes
  • Group residential homes
  • Street outreach
  • Out-of-school youth drop-in center
  • Evidence-based preventative services
  • Numerous programs that provide support to families struggling with emotionally troubled children and teens

For more information visit their website at: http://childrensvillage.org/

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