Ranch Ehlo Society is seeking to obtain two important milestones this year.

The CARE certification is scheduled for June, and the Council on Accreditation (COA) accreditation for the end of November.

What is the difference between the two?

According to Karl Mack, director of child and youth development and the CARE lead at the agency, “COA is a set of best practice standards that have been developed by the industry and it looks at every aspect of the organization, whereas CARE is not an accreditation process.”

He went on to explain that CARE is a model that has been developed which is distinct to group living environments like Ranch Ehrlo where it’s more specific to the care of the program participants as a way of ensuring positive outcomes.

David Rivers, vice-president of clinical services added, “CARE is a framework for practice with participants while COA accreditation signifies that every aspect of the agency meets administrative, management, and service standards.”

Jennifer Murray, quality improvement consultant and COA lead for the Ranch said, “(COA) Accreditation is both a process and a status. As a process, it involves an extremely in-depth self-study of all aspects of the agency (compared with) current best practices. As a status, it signifies that an organization or program meets standards of quality set forth by the accrediting body.”

The final step for both the CARE certification and the COA accreditation will have representatives visit the Ranch in person to review our processes and have discussions with our staff and participants.

Representatives from Cornell University will visit the Ranch in June as the final step in the CARE certification process.

COA representatives will attend the Ranch in the fall as a part of the accreditation process.

Ranch Ehrlo has been successfully accredited since 1977. It is the only COA accredited organization in Saskatchewan.

Currently, there are only two CARE certified organizations in Canada. Ranch Ehrlo hopes to be the third this year. There are only 15 organizations worldwide that have achieved certification.

Another similarity that COA and CARE share is that they both make Ranch Ehrlo better. We strongly believe that adhering to best practices and continual evaluation helps us strengthen our services for the young people, adults, and families we serve.