Dreamcatchers Empowerment Network (DEN) announced that it has once again received a Three-Year Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for its vocational assessment, job preparation and placement programs for youth and adults with limitations and disabilities. This is the sixth accreditation that the international commission has awarded to Dreamcatchers.
This outcome represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows that Dreamcatchers meets or exceeds the high standards established by CARF. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation outcome has put itself through a rigorous peer review process and has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit that its programs and services are of the highest quality.
Dreamcatchers was recognized for many of our accomplishments during the survey. The CARF surveyors found that Dreamcatchers demonstrated the following strengths:
- The board of DEN is recognized for its strong, purposeful, and appropriate governance of the organization, including active involvement in the development of the organization’s policies and strategic plan, and the provision of ongoing support to the executive director and personnel. The mission-centered board members are committed to the well-being of the staff members and responsive to the needs of the consumers and the expectations of the communities in which the organization operates.
- The mission-centered leadership team, under the direction of the executive director, is professional and focused. Leadership positions are created and/or revised to reflect the changing needs of DEN in today’s increasingly complex environment. The organization also receives exceptional support from its pro bono administrative partner, Crestwood Behavioral Health. Across the board, staff members consistently indicated that the leadership is instrumental in fostering a team environment characterized by the provision of significant supports and a focus on diversity and cultural awareness.
- DEN is highly supportive of its leadership. Staff members spoke of the organization’s “family like” atmosphere and their appreciation of the direction set by the executive director, including the provision of ongoing personnel training at all levels. They also made multiple mentions of the leadership’s focus on diversity and cultural awareness, which they highly value.
- The staff members carry out their work with a great deal of positivism and enthusiasm. They maintain a clear and dedicated focus on the consumers, with whom they appear to maintain supportive and upbeat mutual relationships. The longevity of employment of the staff members enhances the stability and continuity of service delivery and enriches the organization’s sense of history.
DEN fosters strong relationships with the stakeholders. Consumers consistently stated how “wonderful,” “fabulous,” and “lovely” the staff members are. Business partners remarked that they call the organization when they have positions to fill. One of the organization’s business partners recommended DEN to another employer, who hired a consumer and, later, his brother.
- The collaborative co-op developed among Butte County Behavioral Health, California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), and DEN has had a significant positive impact on the employment and retention of the consumers. Through the co-op, consumers are provided full wraparound services that support their needs
related to mental health; community; personal issues; vocational goals; and, ultimately, successful community employment.
- DEN is commended for its creative development of internship opportunities at various businesses through which the consumers receive the minimum wage while exploring jobs and receiving valuable job training. The internships enable the consumers to gain work experiences in short-term settings in preparation for long-term employment in similar settings.
- Employers and representatives of DOR praised the staff members of DEN for providing exceptional follow-up and for responding with a sense of urgency to the consumers’ identified support needs. They noted that the staff members communicate in a timely manner and that they consistently accord a high level of dignity and respect to the consumers and cultivate a person-centered service delivery environment.
- Consumers indicated that they have a high level of satisfaction with the organization’s services, and they are clearly aware of staff members’ roles and functions as they relate to the services. They particularly noted the
supports they are provided to learn to use public transportation and to access available resources for the procurement of clothing, shoes, and other desirable items related to job interviews and employment. A consumer indicated that someday he is going to write a book about DEN and stated, “they are always there.” Another consumer remarked that she has a “dream job.” Yet another consumer commented that he gives his staff member “all the credit” and that with her support he is successful, has a car, and is working toward getting an apartment.
- DEN maintains an excellent reputation among funding sources, consumers, and the community at large for the essential services it provides. Funding and referral sources and other stakeholders consistently praised the excellent nature of the organization’s communications, and they expressed that they are highly satisfied with the organization’s services. They also commented on the organization’s excellent reputation for responsiveness and follow-through. A stakeholder said, “If they say they will do it, they do.” Funding and referral sources commented that the organization is their first choice when referring someone for employment outcomes.
- The organization has established an extensive system of community and business partnerships that benefit consumers across the broad geographic area served. This system contributes to many service delivery successes and ensures that an individualized approach is consistently taken to the placement of consumers in a range of employment settings in the specific community in which they reside.
- DEN maintains a significant and highly valued partnership with DOR. Through the partnership, DOR works with the organization’s leadership to meet the needs of persons under age 25 in accordance with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. DOR representatives stated that they are “counting on DEN because it is strong in employment” and is able to place people in jobs that other organizations were unable to place.
- Although its funding source requires the tracking of the 90-day employment outcome, DEN tracks outcomes that go above and beyond this timeframe to help ensure that lasting outcomes are obtained for the consumers. It is particularly noteworthy that 77 percent of the consumers who secure employment are still employed at six months post placement, and that 88 percent of the consumers who remain employed at the six-month mark continue to be employed at one-year post placement.
- DEN holds an annual event each October showcasing consumers’ successes in attaining their desired employment outcomes. The event is attended by consumers, their families, funders, and staff members. The touching and life-changing stories presented to the attendees about the organization and opportunities for becoming employed clearly demonstrate how important the organization is to those who use its employment services.
This is the sixth CARF Survey that Dreamcatchers has participate in and is proud to receive once again the three-year CARF accreditation as an indication of our greatest level of commitment to quality improvement and demonstrates our extraordinary level of dedication to improving the quality of lives of the clients Dreamcatchers serves.
(CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process that centers on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. For more information about the accreditation process, ,please visit the CARF website at www.carf.org.)