Accreditation in Action – Stanford Youth Solutions

Stanford Youth Solutions of Sacramento, CA is intensely determined to do whatever it takes to create success for the youth they serve and provide a chance at a healthy, productive and self-sufficient life.Stanford Youth Solutions_logo_Color They have an unwavering commitment, both in theory and practice, to the sustainable success of their young clients and their families. More than two-thirds of youth in their care reconnect to a safe permanent family. Read on to learn how Stanford Youth Solutions has been impacted positively by being nationally accredited (plus a Wizard of Oz theme, below).

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

Stanford Youth Solutions received national accreditation through The Council on Accreditation (COA) on November 20, 2014.

2.  What was the original reason for becoming accredited?

We knew that national accreditation would speak to our agency’s quality of work and commitment to our youth, families, foster families, staff, board of directors, community partners, donors, and volunteers. Accreditation would also provide us opportunities to network with other child and family organizations across the country.

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

Stanford Youth Solutions has always represented the voice and choice of those we serve. By becoming accredited, we are even more committed to making this our lasting legacy. Being accredited has also boosted our staff’s belief that the work we do to support youth and families is great work. Our Board of Directors also played a crucial role in the accreditation process, and their continued endeavors to support Stanford Youth Solutions remains rich and rewarding.

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

We hope to inspire other organizations to be excited about the process! The accreditation process rewarded us with a greater understanding of the importance of what we do, how we do it and the families whose lives are forever changed by our support.

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

We created a COA Creative Activities Team (CAT) to bring COA to life for our staff. We chose to incorporate a Wizard of Oz theme as our internal motivator. This theme complimented the feeling we share with those we serve, that there is “no place like home.” Wizard of Oz SYSWe created a yellow brick road that ran down our hallway and had staff dress in characters during each “all-staff” meeting; we even had Toto participate! We tied each of the standards to the Wizard of Oz theme. For example, policies and procedures were presented as the brain of the organization, while staff were the heart. During our COA Site visit, we had all characters on deck and ready to speak to the strengths of our organization. Fun was infused every step of the way!

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?

Being accredited demonstrates to the community that our organization meets higher standards than minimum licensing requires. It also demonstrates that our organization has gone through an in-depth, comprehensive, transparent review of all aspects of our operations, best practices and continuous quality improvement, as well as undergoing a periodic review of the organization. We were recently recognized by The California Alliance of Child and Family Services for our national accreditation.

7.  How did your organization celebrate becoming re-accredited?

We certainly did celebrate! We shared our accreditation success with our staff in an ”all-staff” meeting, where we had a great catered lunch and an ice cream dessert bar! We also presented our staff with the COA plaque, which will soon join our other organizational accomplishments in our entrance area. We found out about our expedited accreditation prior to our board meeting in November, so we immediately shared the news with our Board of Directors and of course they were over the moon! We have shared the news with our families and have added our COA logo and information about the accreditation process to the website.

8.  About Stanford Youth Solutions:

Stanford Youth Solutions has over 115 years of experience providing services to young people and their families who struggle with abuse, neglect, mental or behavioral health challenges, or other difficult circumstances. Through Intensive Community Based Mental Health Services, Wraparound, Therapeutic Behavioral Services, Intensive Treatment Foster Care & Standard Treatment Foster Care, and Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention, we empower children/youth and their families to solve serious challenges that threaten their ability to stay together. More than two-thirds of youth in our care reconnect to a safe permanent family.


Inspiring sustainable change for young people and their families and empowering them to solve serious challenges together.


We envision a community where every young person has strong and permanent connections to family and the opportunity to develop as a healthy and productive young adult.


Accountability, Empowerment, Excellence, Innovation, Integrity, and Partnership


Stanford Youth Solutions provides intensive, individualized programs that are proven effective for young people and families in difficult circumstances (abuse, neglect, mental health).  They become stable and capable through a research-based, targeted approach.

Determined to give each and every child a chance at a healthy, productive and self-sufficient life, it is our unwavering commitment to the sustainable success of young clients and their families that separates us from other organizations.

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