What is Accreditation?
The formal evaluation of an organization or program against best practice standards. It is both a status and a process:
As a Status
It signifies that an organization or program meets standards of quality set forth by the accrediting body.
As a Process
It involves an in-depth self-review of an organization or program against currently accepted best practice standards, an onsite visit by an evaluation team comprised of experts, and a subsequent review and decision by the accrediting body.
What is a Standard?
A statement that articulates a level of quality developed by subject matter experts that will be implemented and maintained by an organization or program pursuing accreditation and an accredited organization or program.
Value of COA Accreditation
Accreditation signifies that an organization or program is effectively managing its resources and providing the best possible services to all of its stakeholders.
- Services meet best practice standards
- Services are delivered by appropriately trained staff
- Clients participate in the decision-making process of service delivery
- Services are provided in a safe and respectful environment
- Privacy is protected
- Services support positive outcomes
- Services are culturally competent
- Health and safety are protected
- Risk and liability are minimized
- Service environments are efficient, effective, and supported by a quality improvement-oriented culture
- Professional staff qualifications are defined
- Whistleblower Policy is in place
- Performance evaluation system is in place
- Sound financial management practices are in place
- Practices are ethical
- Strategic plan is current, relevant, and monitored
- Effective performance quality improvement and risk management systems in place
- Policies and procedures address conflict of interests, preferential treatment, accountability, and delegation of authority
Donors, Funders, Regulators
- Validation of the delivery of high quality services
- Sound financial practices are in place
- Performance and quality improvement system is in place
- Organizational operations are efficient
- Risk management policies and mechanisms that prevent fraud are in place
- Can be used as a tool to identify grant recipients
We have pursued recognition of COA accreditation from entities that fund and/or license human service organizations and programs including:
- Government entities
- Managed care organizations
- Insurance companies
Currently, COA is recognized in over 200 instances in 47 states, the District of Columbia, two Canadian provinces, and China. View our Recognition Report for a complete listing of all COA’s recognitions.
Don’t take our word for it – find out why over 2,200 organizations and programs have chosen COA.
COA accredits the full continuum of child welfare, behavioral health, and community-based social services. Please follow the links below for more information about COA’s accreditation programs, including a list of services that are covered by each program and a description of the accreditation process.
We have separate Accreditation Programs for:
- private organizations
- this includes nonprofit and for-profit entities
- Private Organization Accreditation
- public agencies
- this includes county and state administered systems
- Public Agency Accreditation
- Canadian organizations
- this includes nonprofit, for-profit and public agencies in Canada
- Canadian Organization Accreditation
- military family readiness programs
- this includes programs serving active duty, Reserve and National Guard military personnel and their dependents
- Military Family Readiness Program Accreditation
- child and youth development programs
- this includes after school, early childhood education and youth development programs
- Child and Youth Development Program Accreditation
- international adoption programs
- in accordance with the Hague Adoption Act and the Universal Accreditation Act
- Hague Accreditation and Approval
Who is Accredited?
Search accredited organizations and programs by service, region and/or name.
Ready to apply for accreditation? Have questions? Get in touch!
Private Organization Accreditation
HeartShare assist individuals with developmental disabilities through education, day, residential and recreation programs, case management, and health services, and provides foster care/adoption services, counseling, after school and energy assistance programs, and programs for people with HIV/AIDS.
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Judy Kay, LCSW
Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer; Team Leader
In administration for 22 of 24 years at Child Saving Institute, a COA-accredited not-for-profit child welfare agency in Omaha, Nebraska. Retired approximately two years ago, I moved to Tucson, Arizona, where I advocate for children's rights as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer to three young children.