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. We envision excellence in the delivery of human services globally, resulting in the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.
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:
- Collection, in-depth review, and synthesis of all prominent published research and professional literature
- 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
- A Field Comment Period that provides for the review and feedback of the draft standards
- Field-testing with a cross-section of organizations and volunteer reviewers
- Continuous review of feedback from the field and newly published literature that informs ongoing updates to the standards
The COA Standard
The COA Standard is sent to select stakeholders at the beginning of each month.
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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