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Core Services of Northeast Tennessee Receives 2017 CQL Award of Excellence

Core Services of Northeast Tennessee is being honored with a 2017 Award of Excellence by CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. This award acknowledges their commitment to reducing rights restrictions for people receiving supports, through a coordinated and comprehensive assessment process. Their efforts resulted in a reduction of rights restrictions by 40%, where over the course of a year restrictions were reduced from an average of 2.6 restrictions per person, to 1.6 restrictions per person.

“Core Services is clearly demonstrating their devotion to the fair treatment of people receiving supports, by transforming principle into practice. The fact that they have the data to back up their assessment also shows the importance they place in the evaluation of this initiative.” says Mary Kay Rizzolo, President and CEO of CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. CQL is presenting five recipients with the 2017 CQL Award of Excellence at the 2017 CQL Conference, themed ‘Blueprint for Person-Centered Practices,’ in recognition of best practices in human services.

Through the use of CQL’s Personal Outcome Measures® discovery process, Core Services found that prior to the assessment only 38% of people interviewed exercised their rights, and 59% of people were treated fairly. Core Services determined that an obstacle for this outcome involved barriers to providing adequate due process in the restriction of rights. In response to this data, they then implemented an assessment tool to review each restriction, the effect on the person’s life, and the implications for real risks, which could all influence the removal of the rights restriction. While Core Services has increased the number of people receiving supports by the organization, the per-person number of restrictions in place is continuing to decrease.

“We are extremely honored and humbled to be chosen as a recipient of the CQL 2017 Award of Excellence. As an agency, the knowledge and skills we gained through the accreditation process has resulted in a substantially improved quality of life for people. The opportunity to support people in leading self-directed lives has had far reaching effects that we never anticipated, such as happier employees and a 50% improvement in employee retention. We are excited about the future and hope to one day see a time when critical elements that lead to an increased quality of life are present for all people,” says Susan Arwood, Executive Director of Core Services of Northeast Tennessee.

Core Services of Northeast Tennessee is committed to empowering people with intellectual disabilities to live a shared vision of a valued life in connection with family, friends, and community life, where people with intellectual disabilities participate in, contribute to, and are valued members of their chosen community.


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.