Talbot County Department of Social Services Maintains National Accreditation

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Talbot County Department of Social Services (TCDSS) has successfully maintained national accreditation through the New York-based Council on Accreditation (COA). Accredited since 2003, Talbot County Department of Social Services provides Child Welfare, Adult Services, Child Support and Income Support services to the Talbot County community. Organizations pursue accreditation to demonstrate the implementation of best practice standards in the field of human services. COA evaluated all aspects of TCDSS’s programs, services, management, and administration.

According to Laura Heikes, President of the TCDSS Advisory Board, “We are thrilled to have maintained this accreditation. It is symbolic of the agency’s commitment to excellence and desire to make a difference in the lives of all citizens living in Talbot County. We address the needs of many and this accreditation reflects the hard work of the employees of TCDSS, who make themselves available at all times, as we strive to meet the diverse needs of our county’s population.”

Pictured are members of the TCDSS Management Team. From L-R are Simon Bredenberg, Susan Merriken, Thomas Jones, Linda Webb, Shari Blades, Debbe Fairbank, Christine Abbatiello, Paris Quillet, and Pam Wilkinson. Not pictured are Cheryl Blades, Allayne Burke, Dianne Heffernan, Lorraine Johnson, Tim Laureska, and Katie Pedersen.

COA accreditation is an objective, independent, and reliable validation of an agency’s performance. The COA accreditation process involves a detailed review and analysis of an organization’s administration, management, and service delivery functions against international standards of best practice. The standards driving accreditation ensure that services are well-coordinated, culturally competent, evidence-based, outcomes-oriented, and provided by a skilled and supported workforce. COA accreditation demonstrates accountability in the management of resources, sets standardized best practice thresholds for service and administration, and increases organizational capacity and accountability by creating a framework for ongoing quality improvement.

To achieve COA accreditation, Talbot County Department of Social Services first provided written evidence of compliance with the COA standards.  Thereafter, a group of specially trained volunteer Peer Reviewers confirmed adherence to these standards during a series of on-site interviews with trustees, staff and clients.  Based on their findings, COA’s volunteer-based Accreditation Commission voted that Talbot County Department of Social Services has successfully met the criteria for accreditation.

“Successfully maintaining our accreditation status with COA confirms Talbot County Department of Social Services’ commitment to excellence in serving our community and its residents, as well as supporting our staff,” said Linda Webb, TCDSS Director.

Founded in 1977, COA is an independent, not-for-profit accreditor of the full continuum of community-based behavioral health care and social service organizations in the United States and Canada. Over 2,000 organizations — voluntary, public, and proprietary; local and statewide; large and small — have either successfully achieved COA accreditation or are currently engaged in the process. Presently, COA has a total of 47 service standards that are applicable to over 125 different types of programs.

For further information about Talbot County Department of Social Services, call 410-770-4848 or visit http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/talbot-county/. To learn more about COA, please visit www.COAnet.org.

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