Missouri Baptist Childrens Home
Accreditation Is Important and Takes Work
MBCH Children and Family Ministries has always been committed to best practice standards and going “above and beyond” state licensing requirements; this is evidenced by the fact that we are accredited by Council on Accreditation (COA).
COA is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Founded in 1977 by the Child Welfare League of America and Family Service America (now the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities), their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.
MBCH has been accredited since 1977, the year COA was founded. Maintaining accreditation is very important. Not only does it represent a commitment to quality and excellence in our services, the State of Missouri has, for some years now, also recognized accreditation as prima facie evidence of meeting state licensing requirements. The State also requires accreditation in order to be considered for state contracts.
COA has what they term “contextual accreditation”, which means they consider each agency’s unique mission, resources, culture, and the unique needs of clients served as they evaluate agencies to be accredited. This means we do not have to fit a certain “mold” of what an accredited agency looks like which is very important to us as a Christian agency.
Every four years, our agency goes through a reaccreditation process which involves a lengthy self-study of all of our policies and procedures to ensure we are still meeting COA standards. The self-study typically takes approximately one year to complete. The next step in the process is that a site team comprised of peer reviewers (people who work at agencies similar to ours) review our self-study and then come to our agency for three days to interview staff and tour our facilities.
Interviewing staff is important – COA wants to ensure that agencies “do what they say they do.” After their visit, the site team makes a recommendation to COA as to whether our agency should be reaccredited based on their findings.
Sometimes there are corrections requested in policy or practice before an agency can be reaccredited. During the last cycle our reaccreditation was expedited due to the fact that we were not required to submit any corrections; this is a wonderful testament to the great staff we have at MBCH!