Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.

CQL History Timeline

The following timeline highlights important milestones involving CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership throughout its decades-long history. From the organization’s founding in 1969 to the continuing journey of improving quality in the human services field, the timeline below shares some of CQL’s most significant events over the years.

Logo for the National Leadership Consortium

The National Leadership Consortium became an affiliate of CQL on January 3, 2022. This alliance was founded on shared principles and strategic directives to strengthen human services, including the quality of life for people with disabilities, the effectiveness of individualized supports, and the development of leadership skills among professionals in

Person participating in a video conference call with four other people on their laptop

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CQL transitioned to fully virtual services involving accreditation, training, certification, etc. CQL later developed a hybrid model incorporating both in-person and virtual activities, and when aligning with our safety protocols and standards, reintroduced in-person services.

Person smiles at CQL Accreditation event in Tennessee

CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership celebrated the 50th anniversary of its inception, working since 1969 to develop quality standards to improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities.

Cover of CQL Personal Outcome Measures report

An update to the Personal Outcome Measures® was released following an advanced statistical analysis. After an examination of the validity and reliability of the outcomes, the 21 indicators were reorganized under 5 Factors.

Two people present at CQL Accreditation event

CQL Accreditation expanded with more accreditation options to meet the specific needs of human service providers. These accreditation options placed additional emphasis on Basic Assurances® to ensure that organizational policies are actually playing out in systems and practice.

Person completes stakeholder voting at accreditation event

CQL’s ‘What Really Matters’ initiative came to life, and placed person-centered services and supports in the spotlight with 34 success indicators that characterize person-centered supports and promote personal quality of life outcomes.

Manual cover of 2005 CQL Quality Measures standards

The Quality Measures 2005 was introduced to integrate multiple CQL tools including Shared Values, Basic Assurances®, Responsive Services®, Personal Outcome Measures®, and Community Life®.

Two people singing in church choir

CQL began to incorporate the concept of Social Capital into its services and offerings, which involve connections people create and the resulting trust, reliance, and reciprocity that comes out of those relationships.

Manual cover of 1992 CQL Personal Outcome Measures manual

Previously known as The Accreditation Council on Services for People with Developmental Disabilities (ACDD), the organization is renamed The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL). This shift also involved revisions to the Outcome Based Performance Measures, now titled the Personal Outcome Measures®.

Old photo of CQL staff members

As a result of collaboration involving people with intellectual, developmental, and psychiatric disabilities, as well as families, community leaders, and CQL staff and board members, the Outcome Based Performance Measures were officially released.

Old photo of CQL workgroup about Personal Outcome Measures

Following numerous focus groups with diverse stakeholders, CQL began work on the now internationally-recognized Personal Outcome Measures®, which were originally called the Outcome Based Performance Measures.

Manual cover of 1987 CQL standards

The organization name was changed to The Accreditation Council on Services for People with Developmental Disabilities (ACDD), and the 1987 edition of the Standards for Services for People with Developmental Disabilities was published.

Manual cover of 1984 CQL standards

CQL continued to develop new and updated national consensus standards throughout the 1980s. The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), now known as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), based its regulations on the CQL standards ultimately published in the 1984 edition of ‘Standards for Services.’

Manual cover of 1979 CQL standards

CQL was reorganized as an independent, not-for-profit organization, to be renamed at that point as The Accreditation Council for Services for Mentally Retarded and Other Developmentally Disabled Persons (AC MRDD).

Exterior photo of people entering federal building

The standards were utilized by the Department of Health Education and Welfare (DHEW) for certification. Along with Wyatt v. Stickney, federal courts later merged CQL’s standards into legal settlements in Texas, North Dakota, California, Arkansas, West Virginia, and other states.

Aerial photo of Alabama state capital

CQL took on a leadership role in developing expectations for community-based services, which were used as the basis for incorporating 35 standards into the historic Wyatt v. Stickney landmark court decision.

Manual cover of 1971 CQL standards

The first edition of standards was developed by CQL to end inhumane treatment and abuse in large residential facilities. These affected services for people with intellectual disabilities in state institutions and reflected the principles and values of professionals, families, provider organizations, and government agencies.

Empty hallway in hospital or institution

A National Planning Committee, including industry leaders like AAIDD, The Arc, the Council for Exceptional Children, and United Cerebral Palsy, led to the creation of the Accreditation Council for Facilities for the Mentally Retarded (ACF/MR). It is now known as CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership.