Tri-County Community Action Agency has achieved national accreditation through the New York-based Council on Accreditation (COA). Established in President Johnston’s “War on Poverty” in 1965, Tri-County CAA, provides a highly diverse and comprehensive range of services to ameliorate poverty and assist individuals and families to achieve personal, social and economic self-sufficiency.  Services include primary medical care, behavioral health and substance use counseling, dental care, employment & training, food assistance, fuel & weatherization assistance, senior & disabled adult programs, early childhood education, Family Care Community Partnership, regional prevention coalition and health equity zone. 

“Council on Accreditation is a well-respected organization, and I knew our policies, procedures and services would be scrutinized,” said Joseph DeSantis, President & CEO of Tri-County.  “I also knew that the services we provide are top-notch and would stand up to the COA’s level of excellence,” he added. 

Tri-County CAA began the application process in 2019, and dedicated a team led by Jennifer Papagolos, Compliance Director for the Agency, to the months-long accreditation project that evaluated programs and services offered at the organization’s 13 locations. The agency serves all of Washington County and several towns throughout northern RI. The agency was notified of accreditation status from Council on Accreditation in mid-July, 2021. Organizations pursue accreditation to demonstrate the implementation of best practice standards in the field of human services. COA evaluated all aspects Tri-County CAA’s programs, services, management, and administration.

COA accreditation is an objective, independent, and reliable validation of an agency’s performance. The COA accreditation process 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.