National Accreditation (COA)


The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an independent, not-for-profit, international accreditor of the full continuum of community-based behavioral health care and social service organizations.

Being COA-accredited demonstrates Catholic Charities Atlanta’s credibility, efficiency and effectiveness, giving you the confidence you need to support our work and programs.

The COA accreditation process involves a detailed review and analysis of both an organization’s administrative operations, including financial practices, and its service delivery practices.

All are measured against international standards of best practice. These standards emphasize services that are:

  • accessible
  • appropriate
  • based in the community
  • coordinated
  • culturally competent
  • evidence-based
  • individualized
  • outcomes-oriented
  • provided by a skilled and supported workforce
  • respectful of individual rights
  • strengths-based
  • supportive of partnerships
  • child and family focused

Standards must also ensure that the agency:

  • treats all people with dignity
  • involves family and provider collaboration and addresses child outcomes

Accreditation is driven by quality improvement. Catholic Charities Atlanta maintains a rigorous internal continuous quality improvement (CQI) program, which incorporates feedback from its highly valued clients and stakeholders.

Catholic Charities received its first accreditation from the Council on Accreditation January of 2005. COA accreditation is effective for four years, and all organizations must certify annually between accreditation reviews that they continue to implement the standards.

The agency received reaccreditation by the Council on Accreditation in December of 2008 and January of 2017. Catholic Charities Atlanta’s accreditation is effective until 2021.

Because COA reviews and accredits the entire organization, there is confidence in the credibility, integrity and achievement of the entire organization.

The peer review system is the key element of COA’s accreditation process. By relying on seasoned, skilled professionals to carry out the hands-on task of assessing organization compliance, COA is able to provide reviewers who are not only knowledgeable about current theory and practice, but whom organizational personnel accept as their professional peers. Catholic Charities Atlanta has four COA peer reviewers. Peer reviewers have the opportunity to go on site visits throughout the country and review other Catholic Charities organizations and other non-profits – this allows our staff to continue to bring back best practices from others.

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