Social Services is lauded for gaining national accreditation. The Children’s Division is recognized for its polices and operating procedures. To achieve national accreditation — a status shared by only five other states — Missouri’s child welfare system was measured against more than 800 national standards of best practice. Children’s Division director Paula Neese says this might cause some to take another look at DSS, especially for adoption services.

The Children’s Division oversees adoption, foster care child abuse and neglect and child care subsidy services.

Missouri achieved full-state accreditation from the Council on Accreditation.

Sister Ann Patrick Conrad is the chairwoman of national Council on Accreditation in New York. She says this gives those working with the Children’s Division even more confidence.

“What seemed like an insurmountable goal just five years ago has become a reality,” DSS Director Ron Levy said at a reception at the Governor Office Building in Jefferson City. “Successfully negotiating the accreditation process takes strict attention to detail and a tremendous dedication to excellence in job performance.”

To achieve accreditation, Missouri’s child welfare system was reviewed and measured against over 800 nationally-recognized standards of best practice. Accreditation standards addressed the division’s policies, procedures, programs and practices.

“Accreditation makes us a more professional organization,” Neese said. “It enables us to meet the incredible demands placed on the child welfare system as we work with communities to protect Missouri’s children. This process will continue to make us a better child welfare organization.”

First Lady Georganne Wheeler Nixon commended  the Children’s Division achievement saying, “The accomplishment of something that has been achieved by only a handful of other states in the nation demonstrates the length you have gone to ensure the safety of our state’s children. For that, I thank you.”

The Children’s Division is organized within the state’s 45 judicial circuits.  While all circuits simultaneously aimed to meet standards of best practice, accreditation was achieved circuit by circuit over five years. The Children’s Division must fulfill ongoing reporting and quality-improvement obligations in order to maintain accreditation.

About the Council on Accreditation:

  • International, independent not-for-profit accrediting body in New York City
  • Accredits behavioral health care and social service programs
  • Reviews all aspects of an organization
  • Evaluates organizations based on national standards of best practice

For more information on the Council on Accreditation visit

Jessica Machetta reports [1:10]