Woods Services’ System of Care is comprised of six organizations that share a common mission: Providing life-cycle care to people with intellectual disabilities, autism, medical and behavioral health challenges, and those involved in the child welfare system. Across the system of care, a diverse workforce of 6,000 people are employed. Their robust employee engagement strategy serves as one of the transformational cornerstones Woods has experienced over the last six years. Qualified employees who stay over time are critical to carrying out their shared mission, leading directly to improved consumer outcomes. Woods System of Care recognizes by doing better for employees, everyone wins.

In this dynamic workshop, an executive leader from Woods and one of its affiliates will highlight case studies to illustrate best practices along the continuum of recruitment, retention, training, professional development, and support of employees who are tasked with delivering services to multiple populations across 200 programs. These best practices are aligned with COA Accreditation standards, going beyond role clarity by matching job requirements to training. They promote innovative thinking and creativity, offer professional development, and provide trauma-informed support to staff. Woods and its affiliates have implemented diverse strategies, such as designing accessible career ladders for advancement, providing free onsite health care, as well as heavily subsidized degree programs with a dedicated staff person working to help employees navigate enhanced benefits and coach them through barriers to earning their degree. In addition to innovative trauma-informed approaches, such as offering vicarious trauma workshops and a “Sanctuary” meditation room, Woods System of Care provides career mobility across organizations where they are located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Join this workshop to hear examples and strategies relevant for all types of health and human services providers.

Learning Objectives


Karen Coleman
President and CEO
Tabor Children’s Services

Erin Drummond
Assistant Vice President of Employee Training and Development
Woods Services

Karen Wilkins, MHRM, SHRM-CP, PHR
Chief Human Resources Officer
Tabor Services

In this session, a seasoned panel of peer reviewers for COA Accreditation, a service of Social Current, will guide participants through:

Panelists will help participants gain a deeper understanding of these areas, allowing the (re)accreditation process to be a less stressful and more rewarding experience. This session is for those interested in learning more about the accreditation process from those who are in the field. Through many years of experience, panelists have learned simple tips to allow for a smooth accreditation for the organization’s reviewers as well as for the staff who are responsible for organizing the process. Participants will be guided through four key areas to make the process less stressful, easier to organize, and even a little fun. Join this session for an exciting look at these topics and a smooth future site visit.

Learning Objectives


Darrell Woodliff
Director of Volunteer Engagement
Social Current


Brandy Gustoff
Chief Operating Officer
Omaha Home for Boys

Stan Capela
Retired Vice Present for Quality Management & Corporate Compliance Officer
HeartShare Human Services of New York

Keith Kozerski
Chief Program Officer
Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Justin Loehr
Senior Director of Campus Life Services
Omaha Home for Boys

What better way to engage an organization with accreditation principles and committee work than through characters, costumes, and adventure?

Let’s face it, some aspects of performance quality improvement (PQI), standard compliance, and data analysis may be a bit dry for some folks. However, by focusing on engagement, principles of adult learning, and fun, Community Services is making PQI memorable!

Building on Kouzes and Posner’s documented values of an effective leader,* Community Services uses characteristics of humility and authenticity to animate the vision of PQI and its role in accreditation. What started as a mock team of staff wearing t-shirts and lip-synching to songs from Rocky, has evolved into cape-wearing mock team superheroes who champion all aspects of accreditation throughout all levels of the organization.

PQI is woven throughout the entire organization of Community Services and one of the most effective strategies that we’ve found is using a committee structure that includes:

However, these are not your average committees. These committees have customized personas—and character cutouts—that exemplify each of their core purposes, which not only reduces barriers to learning, but maximizes engagement, relatability, commitment of data collection, and authentic actions based on analysis. 

Community Services uses the overarching theme of adventure and analogy of a quest—for quality. We can all appreciate that the path of excellence is anything but linear and the quest captures the multitude of starts and stops, entry points, assessments, innovation, and risk management of continuous quality improvement.

The Quality Quest data scores are skyrocketing at Community Services, with staff showing an increased understanding of PQI, increased interest in joining a committee, increased motivation to participate in data collection, and most importantly, having a greater understanding of how their work contributes to organizational excellence.

*The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes, James M., Posner, Barry, Z., 2017.

Learning Objectives


Aimee Fehr
Family Outreach Counsellor
Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services

Kim Mapson
Manager of Community and Family Services
Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services

Accreditation for an organization is paramount not only to high-quality services and care, but also for its survival. This was underscored in the 2018 Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), which called for accreditation as a key requirement for Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTP) federal funding. Accreditation can be daunting for organizations, but it doesn’t need to be. This presentation seeks to walk participants though the various stages of COA Accreditation from a provider perspective and help build a toolbox of methods to survive, and thrive, throughout the process. Participants will learn how to use an agile project management approach to collect and submit evidence for the self-study and prepare your organization for a successful site visit.

As an organization, it is just as important to continually set annual goals and improve on quality outside of your accreditation cycle year. The second part of this presentation will discuss new and enhanced safety and risk related practices that have been implemented by Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health to maintain the standard of excellence that is expected by COA Accreditation.

Learning Objectives


Bernadette Conneely
Director Of Quality Improvement
Devereux MA/RI

Heather Krueger
Director of Quality Management
Devereux TX

Becoming COA accredited offers human service organizations professional recognition for meeting the highest standards in quality service delivery while providing clients with an appropriate tool for effectively evaluating service providers. Organizations that achieve accreditation have reached beyond the minimum licensing standards and made a long-term commitment to strong management, program consistency, outcome measurements, and continuous improvement throughout.

There are ways for an organization to get the most out of its accredited status, including promoting accreditation internally and externally, technology and data protection, fundraising and grant opportunities, and more.

While there are some more obvious benefits of accreditation that can drive revenue and reduce costs, there are also various foundational ideas that one may not have considered. Standards that address key emergency preparedness and response issues as well as human resources management, safety, and security can all be applied to enhance operational efficiencies. Further, being accredited can increase credibility and boost an organization’s reputation to help expand the referral base, attract individuals looking for services, and recruit and retain quality staff.

Learning Objectives


Jennifer Flowers
Founder & CEO
Accreditation Guru