For more than three decades, the St. Louis Arc has achieved accreditation from CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. This continued commitment to quality over such a long period of time, places the organization in an elite group of agencies. The St. Louis Arc’s dedication of time and resources to improving quality of supports and quality of life, means that they are better positioned to maintain the highest standards in human services. This pledge to their employees, people supported and organization as a whole, is exemplified in their recent achievement of CQL’s Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation With Distinction.
“Through partnering with the St. Louis Arc since 1983, CQL has been able to witness first-hand what quality enhancement looks like in practice, over the course of time,” says Mary Kay Rizzolo, President and CEO of CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. “Their services affect so many lives across St. Louis, and it’s apparent that their transformation over the years is having a significant impact.”
The St. Louis Arc provides extensive supports and services to more than 4,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the lifespan, in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. The service areas include early childhood supports, autism supports, family supports, leisure, employment, day programs and residential supports.
Their accreditation process involved interconnected components of self-discovery, external evaluation and robust review. For starters, the St. Louis Arc conducted self-assessments involving CQL tools of Basic Assurances® and Shared Values. During the on-site review, CQL hosted separate focus groups with the organization’s Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) as well as those who are receiving supports from the agency. CQL reviewers also visited various residential and operational settings, along with initiating Personal Outcome Measures® interviews with people supported and those who know them best.
“The team at CQL is outstanding. Their commitment to quality in services is second to none,” states Stephanie Scott, Director of Quality Enhancement for the St. Louis Arc. “We can always count on CQL to nudge us out of our comfort zone and guide us to the next level of quality.”
The accreditation visit concluded with a Person-Centered Excellence Stakeholder Event, where dozens of participants gathered to reflect and review the findings of CQL’s accreditation process, and importantly, determine action steps for the agency over the course of the following 18 months and beyond.
“Accreditation brought us back to the root of what we do and created a path for us to strengthen our supports for individuals, families, and staff. We now have clear steps on how to move forward as an organization,” says Mark Keeley, President and CEO of St. Louis Arc. “Through the information gathered during the accreditation process, we have set strategic priorities to continue to improve our services.”