Over the next few weeks Arc families, participants, employees, and community partners may receive communication about the upcoming accreditation process with The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL). You may have found yourself asking, what is accreditation and why does it matter?

What is Accreditation?

In most jobs, employees receive annual reviews to gain feedback on how they can do a better job. Accreditation is similar to an employee review. CQL, an international organization, visits the St. Louis Arc once every four years to look at our entire agency and the quality of services that we provide. First the St. Louis Arc works with CQL to provide the necessary information regarding our services and procedures) for them to begin the review process. Then CQL visits the Arc and uses four important tools to help access how the agency is doing:

  1. Basic Assurances® ensure accountability for Heath, Safety and Human Security. CQL looks at systems and practices, and their effectiveness, person by person.
  2. Shared Values and Community Life Assessments assess what drives the organization. This takes into account our mission, vision, core values, and community engagement and how they are embedded in our operations.
  3. Personal Outcome Measures® are used to identify people’s definition of quality of life, supports, and gather information and data about individual outcomes.
  4. Person-Centered Excellence Key Factors and Success Indicators define quality in terms of person-centered supports and services.

This year’s accreditation process will be held virtually to ensure the health and safety of all involved. CQL is committed to ensuring that the process is in depth and of the highest quality while completing exhaustive and virtual review. To learn more about the process, view our accreditation workshop.

Why You Would Seek an Organization that is Accredited?

For Medicaid, and many funding sources, an agency needs to be either licensed or accredited. To be licensed means an agency meets the set requirements of policies and procedures. The St. Louis Arc meets these basic standards, but chooses to take the next step by also looking at the outcomes of our programs and the quality of life of participants. Therefore, accreditation pushes us to improve the quality of services in a variety of areas.

Why the Accreditation Process Makes us Better?

Since 1983, the St. Louis Arc has been continuously accredited by CQL. We consider this distinction a badge of honor because CQL standards are recognized by federal and state government as benchmarks for excellence. Additionally, few organizations that specialize in supporting people with disabilities ever receive this kind of recognition. In 2004 we were one of the first to be awarded a Value-Added accreditation and in 2016 we became the eighth organization in the world to achieve Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation with Distinction. Accreditation through CQL pushes us beyond compliance into true person-centered services. The CQL team brings a wealth of knowledge of innovative practices across the world and uses it to help us identify opportunities for growth.  The end result of our accreditation process is a plan of action that will address our top priorities to reach Person-Centered Excellence over the next four years.

How Can you Help?

Over the next few weeks someone from the St. Louis Arc might reach out to you to invite you to participate in virtual interviews or focus groups during the CQL visit March 29 – April 2. Additionally all St. Louis Arc participants, families, employees, volunteers, funders, and community supporters are welcome to virtually attend the opening presentation on Monday, March 29 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and the presentation of action plans on Friday, April 2 at 9:00 a.m.


We strongly encourage anyone interested in participating to register in advance for these meetings, as it will simplify logging in on the day of.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Opening Ceremony, March 29, 2021 9:30 a.m.

Closing Ceremony, April 2, 2021 9:00 a.m. 

If you would like more information or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Lindsey Moore at LFMoore@slarc.org.