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Who we are

Our mission

Partnering with human and social service organizations to strengthen their ability to improve the lives of the people they serve.

We operate within the context of a strong community. With the support of over 30 national and international organizations, a team of over 400 volunteers, and a highly skilled and dedicated board of trustees and staff, our team is committed to promoting quality by championing and advocating for best practices.

Our history

The Council on Accreditation (COA) was founded in 1977 by the Child Welfare League of America and the Family Service America (now the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities). With over 40 years of experience in promoting best practice standards, we are a well-respected ally for the human and social services field. COA accredits the full continuum of child welfare, behavioral health, and community-based human and social services for children, youth, adults, and families.

Quick facts about COA

  • Founded in 1977
  • Accredits a full continuum of human and social services
  • Uses a peer-based review system
  • More than 1600 accredited or in-process organizations

COA milestones

COA is founded by Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and Family Service America (now the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities)

Volunteers conduct first onsite review of Bensenville Home Society in Illinois

First expansion of standards approved to include mental health services

First public agency accreditation, Oklahoma DHS

COA begins US military partnership with a 6-month project with the Department of the Navy to develop a system to assure high-quality services for naval personnel in a worldwide network of 80 family centers

COA is 1 of 5 accreditors to participate in a study of behavioral healthcare accreditation, sponsored by the Institute of Medicine, to develop a set of underlying principles to guide accreditors in the managed behavioral healthcare era

COA is federally approved by SAMHSA to accredit opioid treatment programs

COA is authorized by the U.S. Department of State as the only national accrediting entity to provide Hague accreditation and approval

COA enters into a contract with U.S. Department of Defense to help strengthen the quality of social services provided to military families

COA is federally approved by TRICARE to accredit providers of behavioral health services to service members and their families.

The Department of Health and Human Services designates COA as an approved accreditor for Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTPs) under the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA)

Evolution of the COA logo

  • 1977
  • 2002
  • 2012
  • 2019