BUFFALO, NY – Catholic Charities of Buffalo has received accreditation by the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, not-for-profit accrediting body, according to Dennis C. Walczyk, Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer. Catholic Charities is the most comprehensive direct human service provider serving the eight counties of Western New York with 53 locations.
COA accreditation, voluntarily sought by Catholic Charities, attests that an organization meets the highest national standards and is delivering the best quality services to the community it serves. Catholic Charities joins a handful of accredited local human service agencies and more than 1,000 private and public organizations serving more than 6 million children, individuals and families in the United States and Canada.
Incorporated in 1977 as an accrediting body of social and behavioral health care services, COA’s mission is to “promote best-practice standards; champion quality services for children, youth, and families; and advocate for the value of accreditation.”
The COA review process provided a significant perspective and barometer of quality for Catholic Charities, according to Walczyk.
“Undergoing this comprehensive process gave us an outside look at everything we do and confirmed that our services do, in fact, meet or exceed best practice standards. It shows that we are operating at a high level of quality, that we are very customer-focused and very concerned with quality improvement processes,” said Walczyk.
“Through this examination, donors also can be assured that we are good stewards of the funds we receive and we believe this demonstrates our worthiness to serve people in need in Western New York,” he added.
The accreditation process involved an in-depth examination of Catholic Charities’ compliance with best practice standards and its organizational standards, including a four-day on-site review in June of more than 15 offices and interviews with many employees, clients and volunteers.
In their final report, the COA peer reviewers “detailed a number of organizational strengths,” according to Walczyk, “including an ‘emerging center of excellence/model for Catholic Charities, impressive dedication to vision and mission accomplishment; extraordinary leadership, management practices, team work, and service delivery at all levels; strong cooperation, coordination, communication and respect; seasoned and quality supervisory practices; some of the finest front line staff seen to date; strongest community involvement and advice, short/long term, seen to date; excellent organizational climate; outstanding professionalism and compassion at all levels.’”
Among organizational standards reviewed were human resources, financial and risk management and continuous quality improvement, as well as 39 service standards addressing a full array of child, family and behavioral healthcare services including financial and debt management, employee assistance program, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, foster care, health service areas and a host of other service areas.
COA notified Catholic Charities of its four-year accreditation within a month of the on-site review.
Founded in 1923 as the human service arm of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, Catholic Charities provides comprehensive counseling and preventive services for children and families, behavioral health and chemical dependency services, services for seniors, anti-domestic violence programming and emergency services, among other social services.
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