Crittenton is committed of not only maintaining our accreditation but at the same time continuously supporting quality improvement measures throughout our agency. Ensuring that Crittenton meets the highest standards of accreditation, licensing, as well as all of our contract terms is not only a priority under California’s Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) mandate, but most importantly it is the right thing to do on behalf of our clients well-being.
To move us forward in these agency wide initiatives, I have tasked our executive team to focus efforts and prepare for CCR, with a special focus on our residential treatment services programming, and to ensure all policies and procedures meet or exceed our national accreditation standards.
For example, our residential treatment services team can expect to see members of Crittenton’s executive team working in tandem with them to help bring the necessary changes, update procedures, and foster additional training opportunities that will be needed to help Crittenton meet CCR compliance in the future. Our intent is to be the best residential program available – and the example held out for everyone else to follow. And I thank Crittenton’s residential team for not just taking up this challenge but rather embracing this needed change for the good of our clients.
For all Crittenton programs and staff who participated in our recent accreditation reviews (yes, that’s plural), thank you for your assistance. And a special thanks to our Director of Quality Assurance, Jayne Millstein, who has been working hard on both the Council of Accreditation and The Joint Commission accreditations this year. For years we have touted proudly that we are a nationally accredited organization, and now we can exuberantly say that we are ‘doubly’ accredited.
For those that have doubted our mission or quality of care I kindly will continue to ask you to reconsider. And for those long standing volunteers, advocates, staff, supporters, and donors who have stood alongside us from the very beginning I say, “thank you”. You could easily support any other big name non-profit out there, and yet, you continue to keep supporting us. On behalf of the children and families we serve we are grateful for your consideration.
Agency Update and Next Steps as Crittenton Moves through the Process:
Council on Accreditation (COA)
Crittenton has been nationally accredited by COA since 1999, the first agency in Orange County to be accredited and one of few within the state to go through the process. Re-accreditation occurs every four years. Our re-accreditation site visit occurred in late March 2015 and consisted of five reviewers from across the country (and one from Canada!) working long hours Sunday-Wednesday. We received a preliminary report and have sent in additional documents for their review. But by the end of this arduous re-accreditation process we were once again granted this national recognition by COA.
The Joint Commission (TJC)
We initially chose COA because, back in the ’90’s, it was the best fit for child and family services agencies compared to the more-intense “medical model” of residential care that TJC served (i.e. hospitals). A lot has happened in 16 years, including the increasing complexity of our clients and the mental health components of all our programs have increased. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), integration of behavioral health, substance abuse, and medical care is becoming the expectation of our government contracts. And we feel that TJC accreditation standards will be a better fit for behavioral health in the coming years. TJC uses full time reviewers rather than volunteers. Two reviewers spent three days (very long days) with us. We have received their report and are in the process of making changes to policies and procedures as part of our Corrective Action Plan. However, with that said TJC liked what they saw agency wide as far as our mental health programming goes, and have also given us the TJC gold seal of approval.
Continuum of Care Reform (CCR)
The CCR initiative is moving forward quickly in California and may as well be a blueprint for child welfare reform across the country. One of the components of CCR is the mandate that all short-term intensive treatment residential programs as well as therapeutic foster care be nationally accredited by 2017. Programming efforts, by the way, that Crittenton includes in our existing and robust service-delivery model. Our state association that we are involved in, the California Alliance for Children and Family Services (CACFS), mandates national accreditation by the end of 2015 to continue membership in their organization. CACFS recognizes COA, TJC, and CARF as gold standards for national accreditation, but the State of California has not yet determined which accrediting body or bodies it will accept. At the end of the day Crittenton continues to be well poised to meet the expectations of the new mandates CCR will bring.
County Government Contracts
Los Angeles County, in particular, seems to be embracing CCR and has made clear that future contracts for residential treatment services and foster care will contain the same provisions as the CCR mandates. All LA County contractors must meet CCR requirements (including accreditation) or they will no longer be considered for county contracts moving forward. We applaud Los Angeles County’s support of CCR and we hope that these continued improvements will be in the best interest for the most vulnerable children we collectively look out for including: foster youth, juvenile justice youth and transitional age youth. We can only hope the CCR will continue to be an initiative the social services community continues to embrace throughout California. Crittenton will continue to do our part and encourage other county government partners to consider the mandates of CCR when they move forward on their own quality improvement measures and when they select who they need to partner with.
As we approach our 50th Anniversary next year, it is with confidence that I say Crittenton is on a good path to not just meeting the expectations of the CCR by 2017, but to continue to empower our clients to make good choices when it comes to their health, safety, and well-being. Despite the system wide changes and short-lived trends that the social services profession has seen in decades past Crittenton has managed to respond to the competing demands often seen in the social services arena. We attribute this to our belief in and advocacy of trauma-informed care as a best practice model implemented at our agency throughout the years. And we hope, with your support, that our mission continues to make a difference for the next 50 years!
Joyce Capelle, CEO, Crittenton Services
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive counseling, medical, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array of residential, in-home, community based, wraparound, mental health, foster care, and transitional age youth services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties.