By Kristen Heichel, CQL Quality Enhancement Specialist
While The Arc of High Point was new to CQL Accreditation, it was evident very early on that there was already an alignment in values between our two organizations. When you look at their mission and vision statements, powerful words stand out – opportunity, goals, rights, freedoms, choices, etc. These are not only ideals of CQL, but of all our partners across the world.
But as I became more familiar with The Arc of High Point, I discovered that these are not just empty words. Their mission and vision is carried out in practice, through the supports and services that they provide and the positive impact they have on the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
For example, they’ve developed advocacy and educational initiatives focused on topics such as estate and financial planning, supported decision-making, The ABLE Act, creative housing options, vocational programs, and more. I was also able to witness first-hand their passion surrounding civil and human rights, while helping to support people in advocating for themselves within their school and community at large.
About The Arc of High Point
The Arc of High Point, located in High Point, North Carolina, was established in the 1950s by a group of parents who set out to improve the lives of their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They rejected the notion that their children should be placed in institutions, and instead fought for them to live independent and rewarding lives in the community.
Today, The Arc of High Point provides an array of programs and supports that help empower more than 200 people receiving services, to achieve their individually-defined outcomes. Their efforts fulfill their organizational mission of being “committed to securing for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to choose and realize their goals of where and how they learn, live, work, and play.”
The Arc of High Point is an affiliated chapter of The Arc of the North Carolina and The Arc of the United States.
Accreditation Awarded To The Arc of High Point
After submitting their Request for Engagement Form in July 2020, The Arc of High Point quickly initiated their pre-accreditation process including scheduling calls, planning meetings, self-assessments, and more. This ultimately led to their virtual CQL Accreditation, which involved policy reviews, online site visits, stakeholder focus groups, Personal Outcome Measures® interviews, and more.
On December 12th, 2020, The Arc of High Point officially achieved CQL Quality Assurances Accreditation – a 3-year term filled with ongoing consultation, numerous check-ins, collaboration on efforts to improve quality, resource-sharing etc.
The Arc of High Point is a shining example of person-centeredness in action – providing creative and dynamic supports that are driven by people’s individual hopes and dreams. I want to congratulate them on this achievement and their exceptional work to help improve people’s lives, as well as their commitment to continuous quality improvement.
The Inside Scoop On The Arc of High Point
Along with sharing our own perspective on our partnership with The Arc of High Point, we also wanted to gain insight into their personal experience. We contacted Stephanie Antkowiak, Executive Director of The Arc of High Point, and asked some questions about their agency, involvement in accreditation, and goals for the future.
What organizational values or practices are you most proud of?
The Arc of High Point believes that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are entitled to the respect, dignity, equality, safety, and security accorded to other members of society, and are equal before the law. We believe that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities belong in the community and have fundamental moral, civil, and constitutional rights to be fully included and actively participate in all aspects of society.
We believe in self-determination and self-advocacy. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with appropriate resources and supports, can make decisions about their own lives and must be heard on issues that affect their well-being. The Arc of High Point strives to be one of these resources to make the people we support pillars of their community.
What are some changes your organization has experienced over the last several years?
In 2017, we branched out to develop our ‘Wild & Free’ Day Program to promote independent living skills. This program began small, but has grown exponentially due to lack of resources for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc of High Point recognized the need for a program like this and is striving daily to meet the needs of the individuals we serve through self-advocacy, volunteerism, community and vocational experiences, and relationship building. The Arc of High Point is also expanding our Creative Arts Studio promoting the freedom of expression through fine art painting, pottery, fiber arts, and sewing.
What led up to your CQL Accreditation?
The Arc of High Point chose to pursue CQL Accreditation because we felt our thoughts and practices on person-centered planning aligned well. We partnered with The Enrichment Center, another agency preparing to go through CQL Quality Assurances Accreditation. We met and reviewed the Basic Assurances® Self-Assessment in order to prepare this document. We also agreed to partner with them on our Human Rights Committee.
What is the impact of accreditation on your organization as a whole?
It will continue to drive the person-centered culture in our mission and vision when serving the people we support. We envision this culture to spill out into the greater community as we practice and advocate where we live, learn, work, and play.
Have questions about CQL Accreditation?
# # #
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.
Accreditation Preparation Workshops
- Guidance through the use of CQL tools in your accreditation type
- Information about the Basic Assurances® Self-Assessment process
- Insight into the use of CQL’s PORTAL Data System
- Discussion about the accreditation components, expectations, timelines, etc.
- Discovery of the use of data based on your accreditation type
- Strategies to create an action plan to prepare for accreditation