Families Forward Philadelphia utilizes the Council on Accreditation tools and standards for benchmarking our policies and procedures against best practices for shelter services, case management and youth programs in other human service agencies across the country. We embarked on this initiative in June 2015.
The goal for our quality assurance program is to review our policies, procedures and programs continuously against best practices in the human services sector. We also seek input from our stakeholders, formally and informally, via focus groups, short surveys and time-tested listening to our participants, collaborators and funders. We believe our quality assurance program will lead us to innovative ways to address homelessness and poverty and provide sustainable, positive outcomes for our families.
For example, based on input from schools in the catchment area of our shelter and community housing program, the school principals communicated a lack of connection with parents and providers of shelter. In response, we conducted a first-time youth needs assessment in Summer 2015. This initiative led to a centralized department set up to address the needs of children’s experience with education and extracurricular activities.
The result? We now track our kids’ attendance and grades in reading and math and offer evening tutoring for both parents and children. We will also produce an annual quality assurance report each fiscal year.