The Council on Accreditation Recognizes Three Human Services Organizations as Winners of the 2017 Innovative Practices Award

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The Innovative Practices Award identifies, documents, and celebrates examples of successful approaches to management and service delivery practices adopted by mental health and child welfare providers.

Innovative practices award 2017 presented by the Council on Accreditation (COA)

The Innovative Practices Award is presented by the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international accrediting body for human services organizations

The purpose of the Innovative Practices Award is to amplify the effect of one great idea by elevating it to the national stage and offering it as a resource for direct service providers, leadership, researchers, and advocates across the full spectrum of human services.

The Council on Accreditation (COA) has designated three of its accredited organizations as winners of the 2017 Innovative Practices Award.

The 2017 awardees are: Caroline County Department of Social Services - Re-Engaging Individuals through Successful Employment (RISE); GreenPath, Inc. - Building Successful Nonprofit/FinTech Partnerships; and The Children’s Village - Family Finding Program.

This year's evaluation process began with a preliminary round of submissions in which applicants provided a one-page synopsis of their innovative practice that addressed one of five themes identified by COA. Themes included: Best Practices in Service Delivery; Managing Performance Improvement and Demonstrating Outcomes and Social Impact; Enhancing Organizational Capacity; Communicating Mission for Maximum Engagement; and Collaboration. A committee made up of experienced leaders in mental health and child welfare services selected 13 finalists from over 70 submissions to move forward with a full case study. From that group of finalists, the three winners were selected.

“Too often great ideas are kept in-house, without recognizing their potential to create change beyond. The purpose of the Innovative Practices Award is to amplify the effect of one great idea by elevating it to the national stage and offering it as a resource for direct service providers, leadership, researchers, and advocates across the full spectrum of human services. We are excited to share the innovative approaches of this year’s winners with our extensive community of changemakers,” said Richard Klarberg, COA’s CEO.

View summaries and full case studies of the innovative practices. Winners will also showcase their innovative practices via a COA webinar and an article on COA’s blog.

Following are brief descriptions of the winning practices:

Caroline County Department of Social Services
Re-Engaging Individuals through Successful Employment (RISE)

Theme: Best Practices in Service Delivery

In the mid-shore region of Maryland’s Eastern Shore there are consistent barriers faced by non-custodial parents – a parent who does not have legal custody of their child by court order –that prevent them from obtaining and retaining employment, thus unable to pay their court ordered child support. To address this, Caroline County Department of Social Services launched the RISE program which helps non-custodial parents remove barriers to steady employment (e.g., lack of transportation), and provides occupational training and retention services. Since it began two years ago, over 300 non-custodial parents have gained full employment in the five-county, Mid-Shore region through the occupational training program, and child support payments have subsequently increased.

GreenPath, Inc.
Building Successful Nonprofit/FinTech Partnerships

Theme: Collaboration

In pursuit of engaging more clients in long-term financial wellness programs, GreenPath collaborated with EarnUp, a Financial Technology (FinTech) company, to create the Simple Payment Plan (SPP) – a debt repayment solution that intelligently automates and accelerates payments by aligning them with a person’s pay schedule and due dates. The pilot resulted in a win-win-win partnership for clients, GreenPath, and Earnup and is a model for future nonprofit/FinTech partnerships.

The Children’s Village
Family Finding Program

Theme: Best Practices in Service Delivery

In recent years the Children’s Village (CV) was finding that the majority of youth referred to their residential campus through the foster care system had no connections or contact with their immediate or extended family members. Determined to reunite the loneliest and most isolated youth in their care with their families, CV adopted the Family Finding Program Model. Since its inception, the CV Family Finding Program has seen high rates of success, with 50% of youth in the program, all of whom started with no connections, discharged to a family member and 90% connected to a family member who is committed to remaining in contact with the youth through visits or phone calls.

ABOUT COA

Founded in 1977, COA is a nonprofit accrediting body of over 2,200 behavioral health and social service organizations and programs in the US and Canada. In partnership with the human services field, COA researches and publishes best practice standards and engages organizations and programs in a comprehensive review with the goal of strengthening and improving their capacity, administration and management functions and service delivery. Standards are available free and online at http://www.COAnet.org.

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Emily Brush
@coa_news
since: 07/2012
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