Since 1983, the St. Louis Arc has been continuously accredited by The Council on Quality & Leadership (CQL), an international non-for-profit organization. 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 who specialize in taking care of people with disabilities ever receive this kind of recognition.
Last week, CQL staff met virtually with various stakeholders of the St. Louis Arc to assess our programs and identify future opportunities. Four CQL interviewers reviewed over 1200 documents and agency policies, while also meeting with participants, families, staff, and community members. Their goal was to “assess the agency through a firm foundation of systems and practices related to health, welfare and human security involving Basic Assurances® and implementation of CQL’s Personal Outcome Measures®”.
The week began with a creative welcome performance and the State of the Arc presentation by Mark A. Keeley, President and CEO. Over the week-long accreditation process more than 65 virtual meetings were held. CQL interviewers spoke with direct support professionals, self-advocates, and family members via virtual focus groups to gain candid insight into the agency. Interviewers also attended virtual programs and were given virtual tours of homes and day program sites by people receiving services.
After the initial assessment, a group of 38 stakeholders gathered to hear the findings of CQL. Insight was gathered from 85 participants, staff, and community partners and then paired with the votes of the stakeholder group to determine the top three factors that the St. Louis Arc should focus on over the next 18 months. While presentations of the chosen topics of community connections, supports and services, and the workforce were presented on the final day, the St. Louis Arc’s quality team is currently finalizing the plan of action.
It was a long, fun, and inspiring week. We would not be able to achieve the level of quality we do without the help of everyone who committed their time. While the agency learned last week we have been accredited by CQL for another four years, we will not know at what level for a few weeks. Please join us on Tuesday, April 20 to learn about the process and our final level of accreditation.