About COA

Who We Are

The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization.  Founded in 1977 by the Child Welfare League of America and Family Service America (now the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities), our mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

A Community of Excellence

With the support of over 30 national and international organizations, a cadre of over 1,000 volunteers and a highly skilled and dedicated board of trustees and staff, the peer-driven COA community is committed to championing quality by promoting best practice standards and advocating for accreditation.

What We Do

Accredit Organizations and Programs

COA accredits the full continuum of child welfare, behavioral health, and community-based social services. We currently accredit more than 2,200 organizations and programs serving more than 7 million individuals and families.

We have separate Accreditation Programs for private organizations, public agencies, Canadian organizations, military family readiness programs, child and youth development programs, and international adoption programs.

Visit the Accreditation Overview to learn more about COA’s accreditation process, standards editions, eligibility criteria, and different Accreditation Programs.

Develop Accreditation Standards

Standards development is a continuous process that relies on an inclusive, consensus building methodology to ensure the standards remain relevant in an ever-changing field. 

Current best practices are determined through a rigorous, multi-stage development and vetting process that includes:

  1. Collection, in-depth review, and synthesis of all prominent published research and professional literature
  2. The convening of Standards Advisory Panels and Task Forces comprised of subject matter experts, agency leaders, and service providers to provide input on trends in the field
  3. A Field Comment Period that provides for the review and feedback of the draft standards 
  4. Field-testing with a cross-section of organizations and volunteer reviewers
  5. Continuous review of feedback from the field and newly published literature that informs ongoing updates to the standards

Annual Reports

2013 Annual Report
2012 Annual Report

The COA Standard

The COA Standard is sent to select stakeholders at the beginning of each month.

November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014

WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Sweetser, a Maine non-profit agency operating since 1828, provides comprehensive mental and behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services. Statewide, it serves around 15,000 consumers a year, including children, adults, and families in outpatient, office-based, and residential settings.
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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

Brewer-Porch Children's Center

James W. Thompson, Executive Director

The COA standards as applied to the operations at Brewer-Porch Children’s Center at The University of Alabama has given the administration an opportunity to examine best practice and improve the quality of care provided to clients.
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