Accreditation is a process involving the setting of standards and then verifying that those standards have been achieved.
The Children's Mental Health Ontario Accreditation Program is voluntary, independent of government agencies and organizations and administered by an independendent accrediation body (C.C.A.).
During the last 30 years, CMHO has been working to define standards for high quality treatment programs. CMHO has long recognized that implementation of standards for high quality services would be made more effective by a process of accreditation. Accreditation would formally acknowledge a centre's achievement of the standards. Also, accreditation would provide centres with an incentive to continuously improve their services and treatment methods. As part of its long-range plan, in 1983, the CMHO Board set the goal to develop an Accreditation Program.
In 1984, The Trillium Foundation generously provided the CMHO with a five-year grant for developing an Accreditation Program for children's mental health centres in Ontario. Through a combination of committee work, consultation and extensive pilot-testing, the CMHO Accreditation Program has evolved to today where it is now delivered through an independent body (The Canadian Centre For Accreditation). .
The CCA model of accreditation involves both self-evaluation by a centre and independent verification by a review team. It combines the advantages of internal and external evaluation systems together with an emphasis on education and growth.
Benefits of Accreditation:
Accreditation provides a template or model for creating high quality services. This model addresses all aspects of children's mental health centre operation in detail, and it stimulates continuous self-development. As a process of review, improvement, and certification that is conducted by professional review teams, accreditation can identity both strengths and weaknesses and provide objective information about a centre's functioning.
Accreditation solidifies the identity of children's mental health centres, reinforces their credibility as providers of treatment services, and enhances the accountability of Boards of Directors.
Also, accreditation can assist the consumer in the selection of appropriate services by defining children's mental health services, differentiating them from other children's services, and by certifying the quality of the services provided by centres. Because accreditation signifies that the children's mental health centre meets and often surpasses high standards of quality, accreditation provides assurance to the public that the centre is approved by an authorized body on the basis of professional standards.