COA has many strengths: our rigorous yet practical standards, our strong community of Sponsors and Supporters, our over 300 national and international recognitions. But what makes us right for you?

With us, accreditation is an open book test.

We believe in the power of transparency. When the human and social service community shares a common knowledge of best practice standards, everyone benefits. This is why we make our standards available here on our website for free.

Our organizations prepare for their Site Visits secure in the knowledge that there will be no surprises as to how we will evaluate them. Not only is there open access to our standards, but our rating indicators are freely available, as are many of our trainings.

That doesn’t mean that the accreditation process will be easy or that it won’t require work. It means that we’re here to help you get there. We are in this to help you help your clients.

We match you with a single point of contact who helps you through the process.

Each organization is assigned a dedicated COA Accreditation Coordinator to help them and answer any questions they may have as they navigate the road to accreditation. This role is unique to our facilitative accreditation process.

We look at the whole picture.

Most of our private, public, and Canadian accreditation covers an entire organization. We look at both an organization’s programs and services and the administrative infrastructure, as both are critical to producing the best possible outcomes. We want to ensure that you have the internal support you need to best support your clients.

By getting your entire organization accredited in one go, you reduce your risk of having to come back each time there is a new mandate or regulatory requirement. Sound financial, administrative, operational, and oversight practices can inspire confidence in staff, oversight entities, donors, and funders. They can rest easier knowing that the entire organization was vetted.

By making accreditation a whole-organization process, you also help to ensure that everyone—from human resources to finance to direct care and clinical staff—is working together to carry out your mission. Everyone becomes invested in best practices, and everyone benefits from them.

Our Peer Reviewers have been (and often still are) in your shoes.

Our unpaid volunteer Peer Review system is a key part of our accreditation process. The teams conducting our Site Visits are made up of seasoned, skilled professionals, many of whom are still in the field and thus knowledgeable about the latest theory and practice. They all come from COA-accredited organizations, and often have been the accreditation lead themselves. Learn more about the system here.