Richard's Colleague Letter to the Field

While we are all interested in whether the groundhog’s prediction about a short winter will be correct, a more pressing issue is: when will the economy thaw out? Unfortunately, and as evidenced by slashed state budgets, high unemployment, home mortgage foreclosures, and reductions in reimbursement rates, there appears to be no relief in sight. Please know that COA continues to be your partner throughout this economic blizzard!

Grantsmanship 101

Your COA accreditation is an asset, but for it to have maximum value and impact, it must be used. To that end, when you apply for a contract, a grant, or even if you are soliciting a major contribution, please contact Emily Brush, Executive Coordinator and ask for a letter of support so that you can include it in your response or have it sent directly to the potential funder/donor. Letters of support are complimentary and are an effective means of providing funders valuable information on how your organization’s accreditation status differentiates you from non-accredited organizations. Our experience is that it truly makes a difference!

Stand Up and Be Recognized

COA is continually striving to identify ways to provide you with a return on your investment in accreditation. One way is to have regulators recognize what accreditation means and provide accredited organizations with relief from regulatory oversight. The savings in terms of staff time is significant. If you have ideas on how COA can work with you, your colleagues, and other organizations to identify potential opportunities for your accreditation to be formally recognized, please contact Adam Malitz, Government Relations Associate.

Department of Defense

In late 2008, COA was asked by the Department of Defense to develop accreditation standards for programs on installations that serve military families. As part of this work, COA has updated some existing standards sections and is in the process of developing a group of sections specific to the needs of these important consumers. COA anticipates this work will have broad implications for programs serving our nation's military families by ensuring that every service member has access to high quality services whether provided by a military program on an installation or a civilian program.

Report Card on Focused Reaccreditation

Performance Quality Improvement (PQI) is not only the foundation of our standards and process but also an essential part of COA. PQI provides us with the data to evaluate the impact of accreditation on you, our client. In that regard, I am pleased to report that the Focused Reaccreditation Process has been a resounding success. By reducing 40% of the Administration and Management Standards, it significantly decreases staff time in preparing your self-study. In addition, it frees our Peer Reviewers to focus on reviewing programmatic outcomes and innovative service delivery models instead of reviewing routine procedures.

COA is Green (Ecologically and Financially)

Another effective cost reducing tool for organizations has been the development of a phone and web-based stakeholder survey process. Since its implementation in early 2009, 448 organizations have successfully surveyed 39,798 stakeholders via the internet and phone. This has saved an estimated 60,000 sheets of paper and envelopes, $20,000 in postage, and most importantly, thousands of hours in staff time. If you would like additional information on how to adopt the phone and web-based survey process, please contact Diane Swensen, Senior Coordinator, Systems Development & Web Technology.

Social Advocacy

In response to requests from several of our accredited agencies, we have recently released a Social Advocacy service section (SOC and CA-SOC) as part of our 8th Edition and 8th Edition Canadian Standards. The foundation for this service standard was the 7th Edition Social Advocacy Services (S30) and, as with all of our standards, they were updated from research gathered through extensive literature reviews and feedback provided by your direct service and academic colleagues.

COA Needs You!

One of the truly unique aspects of COA accreditation is our use of volunteer reviewers. Becoming a reviewer has many benefits, including the opportunity to see the “what and how” of organizations throughout the United States and Canada. With the expansion of COA’s activities, our need for volunteers with experience in specific service areas has increased. Specifically, we need folks with experience in after school programming, financial education and counseling, employee assistance programs, opioid treatment, as well as services provided to military personnel and their families. If you would like to learn more about becoming a COA volunteer, please click here or contact Caroline Louissaint, Assistant Director of Site Visit Operations.

Board and Staff Update

The strength of COA, as with all organizations, is directly related to its board and staff. With that in mind, I would like to welcome Timothy F. Noelker as our new Board Chair. Tim is a partner in a law firm based in St. Louis and has served on our board for five years. Prior to joining the COA board, Tim chaired the boards of Child Welfare League of America and Edgewood Children’s Center. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Missouri Division of Youth Services. Tim will be building on the strong leadership of Sister Ann Patrick Conrad, who during her tenure successfully established a vision for COA’s future growth.

With regard to our staff, I am delighted to announce that Christina Byrne, MSW, joined COA on February 1 as Senior Director of Accreditation Operations. In her new role, Christina will oversee Accreditation Operations, Volunteer Services, and the Accreditation Commission. She is the former Director of Planning and Performance Improvement at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, Inc., where she spearheaded the organization’s initial pursuit of accreditation. She has also been a Peer Reviewer and Team Leader. I am confident that when you meet Christina, you will agree that she is a wonderful and very valuable addition to Team COA!

And Lastly….

While I am very proud of all that COA has accomplished, I am also fully aware that a great deal remains to be done if we are to successfully fulfill our mission. Please continue to send your thoughts and suggestions to me. Hearing from you makes all the difference.

Thank you for your support and commitment to excellence.


Richard Klarberg
President & CEO


Private Organization Accreditation

Money Management International is a nationwide nonprofit organization that provides counseling and education related to credit, housing and bankruptcy, and offers debt management assistance if needed. MMI also conducts community education programs in the areas where we have a physical presence.


Children's Foundation of Mid America

James W. Thurman, President/CEO

Children’s Foundation of Mid America has been accredited through COA since 1983. The process of accreditation ensures that we meet or exceed the highest standards in the industry.
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