Four More Years

Four more years! No, it isn’t the result of the presidential election (don’t forget to vote) it’s the outcome Open Door Center received March 13, 2020. The outcome was pronounced by the Council on Quality and Leadership, a national accreditation agency. To those in the trenches it is referred to as CQL and is synonymous with national accreditation. Two surveyors from CQL spent four days at the Center. They visited the facilities in Valley City and HI Soaring Eagle Ranch. They also spent time at Open Door Center in Lisbon. The surveyors solicited the viewpoints of people served, Direct Support Professionals and the community including consultants, other agencies and the Board of Directors.

The Council or CQL is an international organization that provides training, accreditation and consultation to human service organizations and systems. North Dakota through the Department of Human Services and the Division of Developmental Disabilities requires that agencies such as Open Door Center undergo accreditation as a mandated part of our licensing requirements. Without accreditation a problem with licensing could arise.

Open Door Center has been participating in the accreditation policy since 1983. The emphasis has changed from the necessity to meet 600 standards that reflected principles of de-institutionalization in the 1980’s including those who lived at the State School at Grafton. The 1990s’s promoted personal outcomes for people. The concentration of these ten years still engaged the obligation of the agency to meet standards but more importantly providing opportunities for people to realize their dreams for a more “normal” life. The council encouraged a life for those with intellectual disabilities mirror other members of the community.

In the 2000’s CQL added choice, self-advocacy, and self-determination as measurements of quality of life. However, quality of life is not met in isolation, but rather through connections with others in the community referred to as social capital. Social capital is created through communities and connections with family, friends, neighbors, social groups, colleagues, and companies. The stronger the social capital the stronger the community offering a healthier and happier life through community affiliations that promote and practice networking and support for all citizens.

Open Door Center operates as a bridge for people to access the important factors of life. The Center services support and increase quality of life for people though the inclusion of health, safety and human security. The basics are needed first with important additions such as friends and family, participation in the social capital, choice and self-determination implemented through the community. Open Door Center operates as a bridge for people to access the important factors of life as deemed through the accreditation process; as the Center has since 1957 and will do at least for four more years changing to improve the lives of all.