by Rose Caldwell
Catholic Charities of Buffalo has achieved its third consecutive national reaccreditation – gaining it in an expedited process for the first time – through the New York-based Council on Accreditation (COA), an independent, non-profit accreditor of community-based behavioral health care and social service organizations.
Catholic Charities underwent its first review and gained a four-year accreditation through COA in 2007, and was reaccredited in 2011 and 2015.
Catholic Charities provides behavioral health and counseling services, basic assistance services, older adult and workforce and education services, and other programs that support families and individuals. In 2018, the agency impacted the lives of more than 152,000 individuals.
Jody Levison-Johnson, Council on Accreditation president and CEO, said, “Catholic Charities of Buffalo, NY was expedited through the Pre-Commission Review Report process as a result of not receiving any out of compliance ratings in any of the fundamental practice standards. Congratulations on this amazing achievement.”
“We are very proud to once again receive affirmation for the high quality and measurably effective services we provide to our clients across Western New York,” said Dennis C. Walczyk, Catholic Charities president and CEO. “Receiving an expedited accreditation from the Council on Accreditation was just icing on the cake. I am grateful to our staff and the board – their attention to quality, client-focused care and sustaining best practices across the board year-round contributed greatly to this success.”
During the exit meeting conducted by the six-member on-site review team, Walczyk said, the “COA peer review team noted they were extremely impressed with the passion, expertise and dedication of our staff, affirming them as our greatest assets, and our volunteers as ‘heroes.’ Likewise, they were impressed with the very positive experiences of clients they spoke with representing the programs they reviewed.”
The COA accreditation process involves a detailed review and analysis of an organization’s administration, management, and service delivery functions against international standards of best practice. The standards ensure that services are well-coordinated, culturally competent, evidence-based, outcomes-oriented, and provided by a skilled and supported workforce. Accreditation demonstrates accountability in the management of resources, sets standardized best practice thresholds for service and administration, and increases organizational capacity and accountability by creating a framework for ongoing quality improvement.
To achieve accreditation, Catholic Charities first provided written evidence of compliance with the COA standards six months before a group of specially trained volunteer Peer Reviewers confirmed adherence to the standards during three days of on-site interviews with trustees, staff and clients.