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The AIRS Accreditation Program is the only credential specifically geared for programs engaged in the specialized field of I&R. It measures a program's organizational compliance with expected practices within the field as defined by the AIRS Standards and Quality Indicators for Professional Information and Referral.
All organizations that are seeking accreditation or re-accreditation need to complete the following core elements.
1. A Consultative Review of your overall policies and procedures.
2. An online Community Survey of organizations within your resource database. This is a new process and involves the surveying of 500 organizations within your resource database (or 100% of your resource database - whichever number is smaller). There is no minimum number of responses. The accrediting agency received and reviews the results but there is not a pass/fail element.
3. An online Resource Database Review.
4. A Secret Shopper testing of your direct service. This will be undertaken by a company called Spot Check and involves a series of 10 calls. The expectation is an 80% pass mark. Failure to achieve that leads to a second sequence of calls once the agency has had to time provide more coaching to their staff.
5. An Onsite Review. This is only conducted once the above four elements are completed. It applies to all accreditations. The majority of the process involves a collaborative staged sequence of documentation review and consultation. The agency works with the AIRS staff liaison to better understand the accreditation criteria and the requirements. All transactions between AIRS (including members of the site visit team and Accreditation contractors) and the applicant agency, and all materials submitted by the agency, are confidential.
The cost is $6,000 for members and $9,000 for non-members, which includes all of the costs of a site visit. Accreditation awards are made for a period of five years. An organization accrediting for the first time has 18 months to complete the process.
AIRS Accreditation provides:
Many organizations in the United States and Canada have successfully attained AIRS Accreditation. It is important to note that some of these agencies are relatively small (e.g. with less than 5 full-time staff). Organizational size is not a barrier!
Whether an I&R program is national or local in scope, comprehensive or specialized in nature, or offered in non-profit, for-profit or government settings, AIRS Accreditation is the best way to demonstrate the overall quality and effectiveness of an I&R service.
If you are familiar with CARF Accreditation, here is a comparison within the context of I&R.
For more information about the accreditation process, contact Amy Fish at firstname.lastname@example.org.