Data - Can We Call It Salvation?

When collected and analyzed properly, data removes our subjectivity and can offer a neutral, reliable view of the world. Data is the heart of COA’s performance and quality improvement standards, and drives human service providers to continually monitor performance and investigate flagging or abnormal measures. We now have unprecedented access to data about the world outside of ourselves and our organizations – critical for human service providers who have a special mandate to know and respond to the communities they serve. This post shares a few helpful sources of public data that are relevant to our work.

Support Evidence Based and Trauma-Informed Care for Undocumented Migrant Children

The Council on Accreditation is putting forth a call to action to support evidence-based and trauma-informed care for undocumented migrant children. The Departments of Health and Human Services have put forth a proposal to withdraw the Flores Settlement Agreement with a public comment period that ends November 6th. COA explains the importance of engaging in this comment period and apply lessons learned in the field to this vulnerable population.

Chicago House: Applying the Philosophy of Harm Reduction

Chicago House and Social Service Agency serves individuals and families who are disenfranchised by HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ marginalization, poverty, homelessness, and/or gender nonconformity. In this post, they discuss harm reduction, a client-centered, trauma-informed approach that emphasizes safety and client self-determination. Chicago House shares how they apply this philosophy to all aspects of their organization. 

Understanding the Impact of Social Determinants of Health

Often times your health is influenced by factors beyond the individual’s control, factors related to their social context. Health professionals refer to these as social determinants of health (SDOH) and they have become the focus of increasing interest when it comes to closing the health disparity gap and taking more proactive approaches to population health and well-being.

Child Welfare’s Complicated Relationship with the Opioid Epidemic

Child welfare agencies across the country are seeing the impact of the current opioid epidemic. Reports from public officials, advocates, and those working in the field echo the same sentiment – the crisis is overwhelming. As opioid abuse continues to increase nationwide, the demand for foster care placements is also on the rise. This leads us to wonder what is the relationship, and what does it mean for families and future generations of children? 

In recognition of National Foster Care Month, this article will shed light on the connection between the opioid epidemic and child welfare and contribute to the ongoing dialogue on how policy and practice can better support those working with families entrenched in this devastating crisis.

How Do We Prepare for the Worst? The Story of the Disaster Recovery Case Management Standards

Mass Shootings are on the rise. Looking at the time period of 2000 to 2015, active shooter incidents have more than doubled in the second half of that period. The solution for this is hotly contested, with both sides digging their heels in the ground leaving us at a standstill and while it may offer us that inch of prevention we so desperately need, reeling communities are currently in need for pounds and pounds of cure. The purpose of COA’s Disaster Recovery Case Management standards is to support an organization’s ability to coordinate the necessary resources to help communities create a sustainable recovery. 

How to Engage Staff in the Accreditation Process

The accreditation process is most valuable when staff throughout the agency are engaged, but this isn't always easy. Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults shares the fun, interactive methods they used to promote the culture of COA and gain staff buy-in. “We wanted to do something different and FUN that would appeal to our two majority generations in the agency identified from our annual staff survey: millennials and baby boomers.”

Workplace Volunteer Initiatives – Why They Matter in the Social Service Field

You may have heard of the terms corporate social responsibility or corporate philanthropy and thought they weren’t relevant to your organization. The first instinct might be “Our whole function is to create social impact driven by our mission. We don’t need to/have time for/have the energy for additional volunteer work”. You might be surprised to discover that there are still opportunities and interest at your organization to incorporate the essence of these ideas. After reading on, I hope you’ll find that there are various ways in which doing so can positively reverberate through your work environment, from boosting morale to encouraging closer work with the community you serve.

How to Combat the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences

April is child abuse prevention month, and there is no better time to raise awareness around the long-lasting effects of child abuse, neglect, and other types of childhood trauma. This article will explain Adverse Childhood Experiences, share relevant findings from the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study), and explore how to put science into practice in order to mitigate and prevent the consequences of childhood adversity.  

My Journey as a COA Volunteer

Stan Capela shares some of his most memorable experiences over the last 22 years traveling around the country conducting COA Site Visits, "I have many more stories and these are just a few - they're easy to come by as a Peer Reviewer because the role is about interacting with people and observing inspiring teamwork. When I conduct an entrance meeting, I start by saying 'I know this is a lot of work, but we’ll get through it together.' I tell them that the Site Visit is an opportunity to invite people into their home and share their world, and that we are a family of helpers who have dedicated our lives to helping people in need. Going through the accreditation process is a chance to affirm what we do."