A hallmark of quality

You may have seen our CARF accreditation certificate displayed proudly in our Depot Building.

You may have wondered what it means to you that the programs and services START provides are CARF accredited...

What is CARF?

Founded in 1966, CARF is a private, not-for-profit organization that promotes quality rehabilitation services. It does this by establishing standards of quality for organizations to use as guidelines in developing and offering their programs or services to consumers. CARF uses the standards to determine how well an organization is serving its consumers and how it can improve.

The CARF standards are developed with input from consumers, rehabilitation professionals, state and national organizations, and funders. Every year the standards are reviewed and new ones are developed to keep pace with changing conditions and current consumer needs.


What does it mean to be accredited?

After an organization applies for accreditation of its services or programs, CARF sends professionals in the field to conduct an on-site survey to determine the degree to which the organization meets the standards. CARF surveyors also consult with staff members and offer suggestions for improving the quality of services.

CARF-accredited programs and services have demonstrated that they substantially meet internationally recognized standards. CARF accreditation means that you can be confident that an organization has made a commitment to continually enhance the quality of its services and programs, and its focus is on consumer satisfaction.

The benefits of accreditation to you, the consumer of services

Choosing CARF-accredited programs and services gives you the assurance that:

  • The programs or services actively involve consumers in selecting, planning, and using services.
  • The organization's programs and services have met consumer-focused, state-of-the-art international standards of performance.
  • These standards were developed with the involvement and input of consumers.
  • The organization is focused on assisting each consumer in achieving his or her chosen goals and outcomes.

CARF accreditation for START

START has received the highest level of CARF accreditation (three years. START meets the highest national and international standards for quality, such as employing qualified professional staff. Some commonly accepted values of quality for service providers include the following:

  • The organization asks you, the customer, if you are satisfied with your services. The organization believes that only the customer can evaluate quality.
  • Service planning is done by teams that include you and design your plan to meet your unique needs and preferences.
  • The organization is responsive to your questions about your plan and services, and it makes sure that you have and understand the information you need.
  • Service plans are individualized to meet your needs as a unique person.
  • The mission and purpose of the organization reflect an attitude of "The customer is always right and should be delighted by the services provided and the service provider."
DHS Logo

 Illinois Department of Human Services
 Bureau of Accreditation, Licensure and Certification

The State of Illinois Department of Human Services Bureau of Accreditation, Licensure and Certification (BALC) has awarded START as a Certified Community Day Services Provider and is Authorized to Provide Community Integrated Living Arrangements.

The Bureau of Accreditation, Licensure and Certification's (BALC) role is assuring that community agencies conform to established standards which indicate their appropriateness to be included as partners in achieving the Department's mission. Together we are "Guardians of the Public Trust".

As guardian of the public trust, BALC has a responsibility to the recipients of service, whether known as clients, customers or consumers to ensure to the best of its ability that those individuals are receiving services from community agencies that have been reviewed according to licensure or certification rules and determined to be meeting those standards. BALC also has a responsibility to the citizens of Illinois and the General Assembly, to ensure to the best of its ability that community agencies are meeting reasonable expectations of providing quality services. It falls to BALC to be the defensive line, protecting the recipients of service and those paying for those services from agencies not qualified to be partners in achieving the mission.

BALC functions within the following guiding principles. It continually assesses its progress and success by these principles.

  • Everyone with whom BALC works deserves to be treated with respect and consideration.
  • Standards which have been developed will be consistently, uniformly and fairly applied.
  • Agencies which do not meet standards and demonstrate inability or unwillingness to improve, will not be allowed to continue in this partnership.
  • Information will be shared with everyone within DHS who would benefit.
  • Timely processes are necessary to achieve the Department's mission.
  • BALC staff training is an integral component of continual improvement.
  • BALC documentation will justify its findings and recommendations.
  • BALC processes and procedures will facilitate improving the human condition.

We ensure these standards by performing the following tasks:

  • conducting licensure surveys of Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) programs.
  • conduct certification surveys of Community Day Services (DT) programs;
  • certify Medicaid Community Mental Health (MMH) programs and conduct post payment reviews;
  • monitor compliance with national accreditation requirements for community agencies funded by the Office of Developmental Disabilities or Office of Mental Health;
  • review and coordinate action on Health Care Worker Background Check Act waiver requests;
  • conduct compliance surveys of Developmental Disability Preadmission Screening/Individual Service and Support Advocacy (PAS/ISSA) agencies.