Five Indiana CACs are being formally re-accredited by the National Children’s Alliance for their service to children and families. Each of these Centers has undergone initial accreditation, and reaccreditation ensures each Center continues to offer safe environments with a focus on a child’s physical, mental, and sexual health. The Susie’s Place Vigo County Satellite has been accredited for the first time.
“Reaccreditation always helps our organization be reminded of what we are doing well and why we do all the little and big things we do,” says Wendy Gamble, Executive Director at Cherish.
Gamble notes that it’s always challenging to work on extensive reviews, audits, and new program launches while also managing day-to-day work at the CAC. “It was a heavy year going through reaccreditation and growing our CAC,” she says, but adds how much can change over just a few years. “The process this time around brought an awareness of how much changes in only five years and how partners on the MDT change but, the standards keep us on track.”
Kids Talk CAC, a division of Aspire Indiana in Anderson, discovered a more streamlined process than their first time around. “The application process was more streamlined than when we did our initial accreditation application five years ago,” says CAC Director Denise Valdez.
“That’s not surprising,” says Indiana Chapter Director Jan Lutz, who also serves as a site reviewer for the National Children’s Alliance. “Reaccreditation is usually easier since most of what you need is just updated versions of policies, procedures, and documentation you’ve likely already been maintaining all along.”
Susie’s Place CACs
Two of Susie’s Place’s three CACs are being reaccredited, each in Avon and Bloomington.
“The standards were different this year than for our initial accreditation,” says Lynn Clinton, Susie’s Place’s Associate Director. “This year’s was a revised version, and interestingly, our next round will have updated standards, too. They’re a great way to ensure that we are always striving to be on the cutting edge of best practices.”
Clinton notes the standards have increased requirements in program areas, such as advocacy, which is a much more stringent criteria than it was in 2017 during their first accreditation process. New increases are coming soon that will further increase the requirements for accreditation. “Advocacy is a huge part of the CAC, so increasing those best practices is a great way to grow and better serve kids and families,” says Clinton.
Susie’s Place Terre Haute receives standalone accreditation for the first time
In 2017, the Terre Haute location for Susie’s Place did not exist. “While the centers share one management team and Board of Directors, our centers operate very independently, and therefore needed to be accredited separately,” says Clinton. “It gave our Terre Haute staff and multidisciplinary team a chance to shine and demonstrate the good work they do.” The new accreditation for Terre Haute, which is no longer officially a satellite facility, means demonstrable benefits for grant applications, too.
The team at McKenzie’s Hope in Huntington County, so named after two namesakes in the rural northern Indiana community, completed reaccreditation amid a growing caseload, renovation of its facilities, and expanding services.
“We’ve always strived for providing the most comprehensive set of services we can,” says Executive Director Katie Schilling. “For rural communities like ours it can be challenging to meet all the necessary standards. But these standards are just that — standards — and we reach for the same high bar as other Centers.”