Richard's Colleague Letter to the Field

As our August national conference - Fulfilling the Promise - approaches, I would like to give you a preview of some of the new and exciting innovations at COA.

First and foremost is the imminent launch of a re-envisioned MyCOA, a Volunteer Information Portal (VIP) and our redesigned website: Each of these new tools was developed as a direct result of your recommendations and reflects our ongoing commitment to make the accreditation process more interactive and intuitive.

While facilitating and validating the delivery of quality services has always been our primary goal, the significant new challenges facing the human service field have motivated us to adopt an additional goal: to use our accreditation standards and process as a catalyst to heighten your awareness of emerging issues and provide you with the capacity to respond to them.

In that regard, we collaborated with national experts to integrate critical information into our standards to address the growing tragedy of children trafficked into prostitution. Important practices for organizations to prevent, identify, train, and respond to this crisis are emphasized in three service areas: Residential Treatment, Foster Care, and Volunteer Mentoring.

Similarly, we have modified our standards to address another pressing issue: how community-based organizations can best meet the unique needs of military service personnel, returning veterans, and their families. By building on our work in creating standards for the Department of Defense and in partnership with the Council on Social Work Education and subject matter experts, these additions to our standards will provide meaningful guidance to accredited organizations on how to appropriately and effectively support our nation’s heroes and their families.

New funding and practice regulations pose a different type of challenge to our accredited organizations. So in response to mandates to integrate primary and behavioral health care, we have released the Integrated Behavioral Health and Primary Care Supplement (INT) to ensure that COA accredited organizations are
prepared to take full advantage of these initiatives and remain competitive in our rapidly changing environment. You can review these standards by visiting us at

Of course, every agency everywhere is facing yet another challenge – how to sustain quality programs and retain quality staff at a time of reduced public funding. With this in mind, we have entered into an MOU with Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families which will provide us with a unique opportunity to educate grantors of the importance and value of COA accreditation as a yardstick for awarding a grant.

Lastly, in September we will launch a Post Accreditation Outreach (PAO) Plan designed to provide recently accredited (or reaccredited) organizations with an array of tools to promote and strategically leverage their COA accreditation for grant funding, licensing relief, contracts, insurance discounts, and new growth opportunities.

These and other initiatives at COA will help us fulfill our promise to partner with you to meet the challenges you face. For us to succeed, however, we need your ideas and comments. Please take a moment, at your convenience, to send them to me.

Have a great summer!


Richard Klarberg
President & CEO


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.


Catholic Charities, Diocese of Covington

Wm. R. (Bill) Jones, ACSW, MDiv, Chief Executive Officer

Catholic Charities in Covington has been COA accredited since 1996. Though the time spent in completing the self study and hosting the site visit can sometimes feel sometimes daunting, the rewards far outweigh the effort. In our agency, the self-study is a group process that involves every member of the staff from the CEO to the building maintenance staff.
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