Although staff and stakeholders are involved in all of your efforts, the site visit is the primary opportunity for everyone to feel their participation matters. There are several things that you should do in order to assure a successful site visit.
- Prepare staff in advance. Meet with the staff as you did when you first decided to embark on this journey; reinforce how important their participation is and how confident you are that this will be a successful visit. Make sure they know who will be interviewed and what standards will be discussed.
- Consider conducting a mock site visit to create comfort with the site visit process and to help staff understand what to expect.
- Work with your Lead Evaluator to develop the agenda for the site visit. Then share the agenda with your staff. This will assure they continue to feel included.
- Make arrangements for the team’s record and documentation review. This will go smoothly if your on-site evidence (e.g., client records, QI minutes, Board minutes, complaint records, and personnel records) are assembled prior to the team’s arrival. Also, be sure to designate a staff person who is knowledgeable about the location of records and other important documents to facilitate the record review.
- Identify key staff to escort the team members to other program sites if you have multiple offices that will be visited.
- Identify a private room with a lock for the Evaluator Team to use while on site that offers privacy and minimal disruption. Place relevant on-site documents in this room, including a copy of the self-study evidence, so that they are easily accessible to the Evaluator Team. Provide the team with a key to this room.
- Arrange to have a computer available with access to online manuals and other important documents. If possible, arrange for Internet access at this computer. Designate a specific staff person to be available to the team to explain how to access electronic documents.
- Develop a plan to reward staff for their participation at the conclusion of the site visit and share the feedback from the Exit Meeting.
Private Organization Accreditation
Catholic Charities alleviates human suffering and improves the quality of life of 100,000 people annually, regardless of religious background. A staff of 600 provides support and services related to housing, food, mental health, children's services, addiction treatment, and domestic violence services.
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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.