San Mar Family & Community Services has achieved national accreditation through the New York-based Council on Accreditation (COA). San Mar was evaluated on their three primary services lines, Treatment Foster Care, Outpatient Mental Health and Community Change Initiatives. San Mar first became nationally accredited in 2001, the process to maintain that status is a daily effort across the organization in services, documentation, policies and practices. The commitment to achieve accreditation is above and beyond the expectations of state, licensing and regulatory requirements in Maryland. COA evaluated all aspects of San Mar including programs, services, management, and administration. For the second consecutive accreditation cycle, San Mar received no areas of opportunities listed, an unprecedented high level of competence in the history of the organization.
To achieve COA accreditation, San Mar first provided written evidence of compliance with the COA standards. Thereafter, a group of specially trained volunteer Peer Reviewers confirmed adherence to these standards during a series of on-site interviews with trustees, staff, foster parents, clients and community partners. After two days of extensive meetings, peer reviewer Michael Angstadt from Georgia explained during the closing session for staff, “The mission of this agency is clear in everything you do. How do you instill passion? We noticed it everywhere you went. It’s not us versus them. It a continuum of clients and staff; it is a caring family.”
COA accreditation is an objective, independent, and reliable validation of an agency’s performance and involves a detailed review and analysis of an organization’s administration, management, and service delivery functions against international standards of best practice. The standards driving accreditation ensure that services are well-coordinated, culturally competent, evidence-based, outcomes-oriented, and provided by a skilled and supported workforce.
COA accreditation demonstrates accountability in the management of resources, sets standardized best practice thresholds for service and administration, and increases organizational capacity and accountability by creating a framework for ongoing quality improvement. San Mar CEO Keith Fanjoy explained, “Receiving accreditation from COA is a reflection of dedicated efforts from our staff who excel amidst great challenges. This has never been more true than the last two years during the COVID-19 crisis, where we remained open every day, providing unconditional care at great personal sacrifice. But it’s important to also reflect, that the COA process is truly successful because of the superior work of our Director of Continuous Quality Improvement, Gina Figel. For over twenty years she has made all the difference in always helping us to stay one step ahead. Her gifts make San Mar a better place for others.”