Jennifer Flowers Presents to Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, D. C

Washington, D.C. (May 1, 2018) — Jennifer Flowers, founder and CEO of Accreditation Guru, delivered a well-attended, well-received seminar to members of the National Child Welfare and Mental Health Coalition at the national headquarters of the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, D. C. Several coalition members participated over conference call.Entitled “Family First Prevention Services Act – Accreditation 101: Understanding the Accreditation Process for Qualified Residential Treatment Programs,” the presentation covered the new law’s impact on congregate care programs throughout the United States and outlined the basic steps and considerations these organizations must undertake to comply with the statute.

“Jennifer’s reassuring, helpful presentation emphasized the positive impact of accreditation on the quality of care for children and walked through the multiple steps involved, reminding us all of the time it takes for service providers to work their way toward accreditation,” said Stefanie Sprow, deputy director of child welfare and mental health at the Children’s Defense Fund, which chairs the Child Welfare and Mental Health Coalition and its series on implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act. “As one of the nation’s foremost experts in this field, Jennifer’s perspective is invaluable.”
The new law, passed February 2018, requires all qualified residential treatment programs (QRTPs) to become accredited by October 1, 2019 if they want to receive Title IV-E federal funding. But because the accreditation process can sometimes take up to 18 months to complete and a large number of organizations have yet to begin the process, accrediting agencies will be stretched to meet the additional demand. Time is getting short, said Flowers.

Operating under the Children’s Defense Fund umbrella, the coalition consists of approximately 250 people, spanning national, state and local organizations, the bulk of which provide child welfare services.

The interesting and informative presentation outlined the many benefits of national accreditation and covered the basic steps along the accreditation journey. Providers must choose among three accrediting bodies approved by the Department of Health and Human Services, document their adherence to their rigorous standards, submit to a review and site survey by the chosen accrediting agency and maintain the standards for either a three or four year period.

She also offered some tips for helping to smooth the process. The long, involved process can be demanding for service providers, but, said Flowers, they can either “plan or panic.”

Addressing the group by phone from Memphis, Hughes Johnson, managing director of compliance and performance improvement at Youth Villages, which operates in 14 states across the country, shared his organization’s experiences with accreditation. He called Flowers’s presentation spot-on.

“The accreditation and re-accreditation process helped us raise the bar for our staff and the population that we serve,” he said. “It is a tough process with a large number of standards, but it helped us develop a defined policy that holds us accountable.”

Flowers, a nationally renowned expert on accreditation and best practices for human service providers, advises organizations undergoing accreditation.

“In general, service providers are laser-focused on delivering quality care and they often fail to realize that accreditation is a complicated, involved process,” said Flowers. “This served as a wonderful opportunity to help members of the coalition provide valuable information to their constituents and help introduce them to the process.”

About Accreditation Guru, Inc.
Accreditation Guru has helped guide private and public health and human service organizations through the national accreditation process by creating an efficient, systematic approach that has resulted in a 100 percent success rate. Their expertise also includes implementing performance measurement and quality improvement programs, developing long-term strategic plans and increasing the effectiveness of boards of directors. For information about their services and how they can help your organization Prepare for Greatness™, please visit

Left to right:
Stefanie Sprow, Deputy Director of Child Welfare and Mental Health at the Children’s Defense Fund
Jennifer Flowers, Founder and CEO of Accreditation Guru
MaryLee Allen, Director of Policy, Children’s Defense Fund

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