WHITE PLAINS, NY --County Executive Robert P. Astorino today announced that the Child Welfare Division of Westchester County’s Department of Social Services (DSS) has received national reaccreditation, verifying that it provides the highest quality services to children and families. Westchester remains the only public social service agency in New York State to receive this distinction – a testament to the level of service provided in the county.
The designation comes from the Council on Accreditation (COA), one of the nation’s most respected international accreditors. COA is an independent, nonprofit organization that accredits more than 2,200 human-service organizations and programs serving more than 7 million individuals and families worldwide.
“Westchester’s reaccreditation shows that when it comes to serving and protecting children, our social service programs are among the best in the nation,” Astorino said. “This was a team effort and the entire staff is to be congratulated.”
Astorino noted that the largest expenditure in the county’s budget is for programs run by DSS, which is the county’s largest department both in terms of staff and budget.
“At more than a half a billion dollars a year, the DSS budget shows our commitment to our neediest residents has not wavered,” Astorino said.
The COA accreditation process involves a detailed review and analysis of an organization’s administrative and management operations, as well as its service delivery practices. All are measured against standards of best practice. These standards emphasize services that are accessible, based in the community, culturally sensitive, individualized, outcome oriented, provided by a skilled and supported workforce and more.
The Child Welfare Division covers Child Protective Services, Foster Care, Preventive Services and Adoption Services.
Westchester was first accredited in January 2011. COA Accreditationis on a four year cycle.
“Reaccreditation is a tremendous achievement,” said Richard Klarberg, president and chief executive officer of COA and a resident of Mamaroneck. “It demonstrates that Westchester County is an outstandinghuman service agency that has made a commitment to deliver the very best possible services to all of its stakeholders.”
DSS Commissioner Kevin McGuire noted that accreditation is the “gold standard,” and that the process as a whole has been informative and beneficial to operations.
“Our work continues,” McGuire said. “COA accreditation is not an end in and of itself, but rather a process by which our office can consistently strive for and achieve new levels of excellence.”