Woodward, Okla. —
Western Plains Youth and Family Services has had its accreditation renewed for another 3 years.
The agency provides a variety of services for children and their families from counseling to Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) to emergency youth sheltering. This includes services provided at its main facility in Woodward as well as at satellite offices in Laverne and Guymon as well.
According to Kevin Evans, WPYFS executive director, and Krystal Lujan, WPYFS outpatient coordinator and TFC director, the agency has been accredited since 2001.
Lujan said there are 4 national accreditation organizations, but Western Plains chooses to be accredited through the Council of Accreditation of Rehabilitative Facilities (CARF).
"Because most youth services in Oklahoma go through CARF," Evans said.
He said it is also because Western Plains holds itself to high standards.
"CARF is not easy to pass," he said.
He explained the CARF accreditation process as "an intense 3 day audit" where outside personnel "who are proven in their fields" come and survey Western Plains' policies and procedures.
During this audit, he said, "there are 1361 standards that our organization is judged upon."
This includes various clinical standards, such as "how we track services and how we monitor outcomes," Evans said.
"Because to make sure we are providing quality services, we need to monitor the results," he said.
Lujan said the audit also reviews administrative standards, including "how our board runs and how our policy and procedures look and do we follow them. Do we have everything written down, and do we match what we have written down on a day to day basis?"
She said other standards look at the agency's staff.
"One of the standards is whether we have low turnover of quality staff, and we've definitely reached that," she said.
Evans agreed, noting "we have many long term employees who are highly dedicated and highly skilled."
In fact, he said it is because of those employees that Western Plains continues to do so well throughout the accreditation process.
"I'm proud of my staff," he said. "We can't do it without a great staff of highly qualified individuals providing the services every day."
However, Evans and Lujan said that the staff members are just one of their agency's "great strengths" that is highlighted through the accreditation process.
"Some of the (other) big ones are our involvement in the community and with the community," Lujan said. "We do community surveys with our clients and the different organizations that we work with in the community to see what we need to do better and what we're already great at. And we always get great feedback. CARF has recognized us for those efforts."
In the accreditation report's "Survey Summary," it lists how "community collaboration in strongly encouraged at WPYFS."
Other highlights from the Survey Summary include:
• The organization has a history of financial solvency and stability that also has helped to achieve program stability.
• The persons served and third-party funding and regulatory agencies have expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the services.
• WPYFS provides services in rural communities that have limited access to needed services.
• WPYFS is recognized in the community for quality of care provided.
• Staff reports a very supportive, nurturing environment with opportunities for needed training to continue to develop the skills needed to provide quality care.
Overall, Evans said this latest accreditation report was "excellent."
"It shows how well we are thought about, not just by ourselves, because of course we think we do a good job, but by experts in our industry who are also saying we're doing a good job," he said.
This is the 5th time that Western Plains has successfully completed the accreditation process, Lujan said.
She explained that CARF has the option to only accredit an agency for a 1-year term, but can also award a maximum of a 3-year accreditation.
"And every time we've done it, we've gotten 3-years, so that's a big statement," she said.
While this means the agency doesn't have to undergo another audit by CARF surveyors for another 3 years, Lujan said the agency still must submit annual reports for review by CARF officials in order for the accreditation to continue.
With this latest accreditation, Western Plains is accredited for its case management, out-of-home treatment, and outpatient treatment programs through 2016.
Lujan said that beyond showing how well the agency is able to meet organizational standards, this accreditation is important because Western Plains wouldn't be able to continue certain programs without it.
"For some of our programs, namely Therapeutic Foster Care, we have to be nationally accredited to participate and to be able to bill for services," she said.