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1 Alliance of Information and Referral Systems Accreditation Presented by Charlene Hipes AIRS Conference May 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Alliance of Information and Referral Systems Accreditation Presented by Charlene Hipes AIRS Conference May 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Alliance of Information and Referral Systems Accreditation Presented by Charlene Hipes AIRS Conference May 2010

2 2 Objectives What are the Standards for Professional Information and Referral What is AIRS Accreditation –Why is Accreditation Important to Your I&R Organization/Program –Are you Ready to Apply for Accreditation Applying for Accreditation –Accreditation Packet Accreditation Process –Phases of Accreditation Consultation Phase On-site Review Award of Accreditation –Confidentiality – Reporting Responsibilities –Renewal of Accreditation Accreditation Criteria Use of the Assessment Tool

3 3 Standards for Professional Information and Referral The AIRS Standards establish reference points which define expected practices within the I&R field and provide guidelines. The standards are the foundation for AIRS Accreditation and provide an organizational context for certification of I&R specialists through the AIRS Certified Information and Referral Specialist (CIRS) and Certified Resource Specialist (CRS) programs. The AIRS Standards include quality indicators for all I&R services wanting to be accredited. No matter the type of I&R service, its scope, or whether it is offered in nonprofit, for-profit or government settings, the AIRS Standards serve as indicators of service quality and effectiveness.

4 4 What is AIRS Accreditation? The purpose of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems Accreditation process is to apply the AIRS Standards for Professional Information and Referral and Quality Indicators to measure the quality of information and referral services. Accreditation is a cooperative effort between the I&R agency/ program and AIRS to establish a strong foundation on which the agency can build and grow. An agency/program considering accreditation should assess where it is in its development, its goals and whether it is ready for accreditation.

5 5 Why is Accreditation Important to You? Broader recognition by your peers in the field. Demonstrated commitment on the part of your leadership to meeting the highest standards in the field. Enhanced credibility in the eyes of the public and your other stakeholders. Stronger position in what is emerging as a competitive field in tight economic times. Expanded access to new markets, government assistance and foundation grants.

6 6 Are you Ready to Apply for Accreditation ? Applying for accreditation is a major decision for any organization and should not be entered into lightly. In addition to programmatic and organizational readiness, it is important for I&R services to assess the cost and benefits of the program to ensure that they are fully aware of the tradeoffs. Most will find that accreditation is a win-win situation. Two Key Questions to ask: Does your agency/program meet all of the criteria? If not, can you build capacity to meet and document the criteria within 10- months? Does your agency/program have a designated person to coordinate the compilation of Accreditation documentation and the process?

7 7 Accreditation Costs Costs generally include the following: Potential costs for major structural changes in the organization, e.g., change in bylaws, governance, policies and procedures and methods of operation. Staff costs related to the compilation of documentation, participation in site visits and ongoing compliance with accreditation requirements. The application fee of $3,000 for AIRS members or $4,500 for nonmembers. Site visit expenses (travel, lodging, meals for the site-visit team).

8 8 Applying for Accreditation The application can be downloaded from the AIRS web site, Complete the application, including the provision of two professional references and submit with the fee of $3,000. (Fee may be split into two payments.) The Consultation Agreement must be signed by your Board President or Advisory Committee Chair. The application is reviewed and, upon approval, is assigned to AIRS staff, who will act as your liaison. The following is verified: the agency has been in operation at least one year. The liaison assists by answering questions the agency/program has regarding the Consultation Phase, the Accreditation Criteria and required documentation.

9 9 The Accreditation Packet Upon approval of the application, generally within a couple of weeks, AIRS will send an accreditation packet that includes the following: Accreditation Criteria. Community Organizations Questionnaire packet. Board of Directors/Advisory Committee Questionnaire packet. Applying Agency/Program Questionnaire packet. CD with items 1- 4 in Microsoft Word Mailing labels for envelopes for returning questionnaires.

10 10 Consultation Phase Within 10 months of receiving the Accreditation Packet, the agency/program: Distributes questionnaires and confidential envelopes to its board of directors/advisory committee members, selected community organizations and staff. Reviews the Accreditation Criteria and contacts the liaison with questions as needed. Compiles and labels documentation for Accreditation Criteria. Completes and has the Board President or other Chief Volunteer Officer sign the Certification of Accreditation Documentation form and submits it with the documentation. Makes two copies of the materials, placing the two copies in separate three-ring binders. The program should keep the original for its records; and sends the binders, the Certification of Accreditation Documentation form and a copy of the Agency/Liaison Contact and Response form to AIRS. All materials must be current at the time of submission.

11 11 Consultation Phase/Surveys Part of the Consultation Phase is the distribution of surveys to your Board/ Advisory Committee, community agencies and staff. The Board of directors/advisory committee questionnaires and a cover letter are to be printed on the applying agencys stationery and distributed to all members of the agencys board of directors/advisory committee. To satisfactorily complete this process, there must be a 50% return rate. The Community organization questionnaire and a cover letter are to be printed on the applying agencys stationery and distributed to a minimum of 2% of the community organizations listed in your database. These should include agencies that refer to you and that you refer to regularly, funding organizations and organizations with which you have a service agreement or contract. To satisfactorily complete this process, there must be a 50% return rate. The total number returned should not be less than 25.

12 12 Consultation Phase/Staff Surveys Staff surveys should be distributed to all staff involved in the delivery of I&R services e.g., I&R specialists, resource staff, supervisors, the executive director, etc. There is no required return rate for staff, but participation should be encouraged.

13 13 Accreditation Timeline The agency/program has ten months from the date they receive their packet in which to submit its original documentation. Accreditation applicants who determine that they are unable to meet the 10-month deadline for compilation and submission of accreditation documentation may request an extension for extraordinary reasons. Applicants who do not meet the 10-month deadline and do not request an extension may be terminated from the accreditation process and asked to re-apply after a six-month waiting period. Once the consultation documentation and questionnaires are received and accepted by AIRS, a consultation assessment report is written and sent to the agency/program. The report will identify program strengths, changes necessary to continue accreditation and suggestions for improvements. The agency/program has six months upon receipt of the Consultation Report in which to finalize the documentation and submit it. The agency/program has three months upon receipt of the final report in which to arrange its on-site review.

14 14 On-site Review Phase The agency/program has three months upon receipt of the final report in which to arrange its on-site review. While there is no additional fee for the on-site review, all expenses related to travel (hotel, food, incidentals) by the review team are the responsibility of the applying agency/program. The total for travel expenses, the schedule and specific arrangements will be discussed prior to scheduling the on-site review. The review team (generally two people) conducts the on-site review. If there are any outstanding documentation issues, the agency/program will have updated materials for the team to review. The review team debriefs the agencys/programs administrative team, for example, the executive director, board members, etc. The review team completes the on-site assessment report with recommendations and sends to AIRS. AIRS sends a copy of the on-site assessment report to the Chair of the Accreditation Commission chair, who reviews the report and finalizes the accreditation decision.

15 15 Award of Accreditation AIRS sends the agency/program a letter: Granting full accreditation for 5 years. Deferring accreditation pending the receipt of additional information; or Denying accreditation. Award of a Accreditation is acknowledged at the AIRS Annual Meeting/Awards Lunch which is held at the annual I&R Training and Education Conference held in May/June.

16 16 Confidentiality All transactions between AIRS and the agency/program are confidential. Information will only be shared with those outside of the Accreditation staff and volunteers if the applicant agency/program has provided written authorization for AIRS to do so.

17 17 Reporting Responsibilities Accredited organizations are required to respond to an annual questionnaire reporting on the status of the organization and their activities. Questions will determine if substantial changes have occurred in any of the following areas since the date of accreditation: Organizational affiliation (became a free standing program) Staffing Mission Finances Service delivery levels

18 18 Renewal of Accreditation The accreditation award is made for a period of five years. During that time, the agency/program must: Respond to the annual questionnaire regarding the status of the agency/program. Notify AIRS of any change that would affect its accreditation status. Approximately 1 year prior to the expiration of the accreditation award, the AIRS office will notify the agency/program of the need for another review. The process for renewal of accreditation is the same as the initial process.

19 19 Accreditation Criteria The Alliance of Information and Referral System Accreditation process has been designed to reduce lengthy explanations of the applying agency's services by requiring documentation that shows compliance with the Standards. All documentation submitted should have been formally adopted and implemented in your daily operations and should be current at the time of submission. The Criteria are divided into the following six (6) areas that currently relate to edition 5.2 of the AIRS Standards: Area I: Service Delivery Area II: Resource Database Area III: Reports and Measures Area IV: Cooperative Relationships Area V: Organizational Requirements Area VI: Disaster Preparedness

20 20 Area I: Service Delivery Information Provision Referral Provision Hours of Coverage and Backup Timely Access to I&R Services Cost of I&R Services Ability of Staff to Assist Inquirers who are Difficult to Serve Ability of Staff to Assist Special Populations Inquirer Confidentiality Barrier-Free Access to Services Technology Requirements Advocacy/Intervention Individual Advocacy System Advocacy Crisis Intervention Crisis Intervention Skills Mandatory Reporting Lethality Assessment Tools Ability to Conduct Rescue Services Relationship with Formal Crisis Intervention Service Follow-Up

21 21 Area II: Resource Database Inclusion/Exclusion Standardized Profile/Mandatory Data Elements Classification System/AIRS/INFO LINE Taxonomy Indexing the Resource Database/Search Methods Database Maintenance

22 22 Area III: Reports and Measures Inquirer Data Collection Data Analysis and Reporting

23 23 Area IV: Cooperative Relationships I&R Service Delivery Coordination/Relationships Within the I&R System –Participates in Local Database Collaboratives/Use Taxonomy –Community-Wide Data Collection, Analysis, and Reporting –Other Cooperative Activities Within the I&R System Cooperative Relationships Within the Local Service Delivery System Cooperative Relationships Among Local, State or Provincial, Regional, National, and International I&R Providers. Participation in State or Provincial, Regional, Nation, and International I&R Associations.

24 24 Area V: Organizational Requirements Governing Body, Constitution (Articles of Incorporation), Bylaws Advisory Committee Mission Statement Community I&R Needs I&R Program Evaluation Organizational Policies Code of Ethics Nondiscrimination Statement Insurance Finance Facilities Personnel Administration Staff Training Training Structure I&R Training Content Crisis Intervention Training Training Evaluation Professional Development Promotion and Outreach

25 25 Area VI: Disaster Preparedness Emergency Operations and Business Contingency Plan Formal Relationships with Government and Private Sector Emergency Operations and Relief Organizations Pre- and Post Disaster Database Disaster Related I&R Service Delivery Disaster Related Inquirer Data Collection/Reports Disaster Related Technology Requirements Disaster Training and Exercise

26 26 Assessment Tool The purpose of the tool is to help you, as a potential applicant agency/program, do a self-assessment of your readiness prior to applying. The tool differentiates between criteria that can be accomplished while you are in the initial 10-month process and those that you need to have in place prior to submitting your application. You can rate your current status on a three point scale: –the work in a particular area has been done, –is in progress, or –substantial work is needed to achieve compliance. After completing the progress assessment for all 89 requirements, you can then review the difficulty factor for the areas in which your organization is deficient. If you have a significant number of difficult requirements that are either in process or you have not yet begun, the AIRS Accreditation Committee recommends that you wait to apply until more progress has been achieved.

27 27 I&R Toolkit The AIRS I&R ToolKit is an area on the AIRS web site that contains over 200 documents obtained from AIRS accredited agencies. The AIRS I&R ToolKit is organized into the same sections as the AIRS Standards. You are free to use these documents as the basis for any new policies and procedures that you may need to customize in the pursuit of AIRS Accreditation. The AIRS I&R Toolkit is a free resource for AIRS members at the Standard, Enhanced and Premium Levels.

28 28 Use Your Liaison If you need clarification on the criteria, or documentation requirements, call your AIRS staff liaison. There are never any stupid questions, or a question too small. Charlene Hipes Alliance of Information & Referral Systems PO Box Portland, OR (503) Fax: (503)

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