By Rita Argiros, Program Director
In June of last year The State of New York Commission of Care & Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (CQC) paid us a two day visit. They came to investigate in response to complaints. I was one of the administrators on site when the CQC showed up. The investigation was a complete surprise, but I knew that we had nothing to hide. They reviewed documents and interviewed many staff and students. They did a thorough job. Two months later the CQC returned a report which found “no abuse or neglect.”
While the CQC had never visited FFS before, they regularly investigate programs that serve at-risk populations, and parents can draw confidence from the programs that have undergone this type of external review process. I think it is safe to say that any time a program is investigated by the CQC, even when no abuse is found, the CQC is going to make recommendations and voice concerns. We were expecting this. The investigators did have a number of concerns and we took them very seriously.
Although these letters became public in late December, we communicated information about the investigation as it was happening and when the initial findings arrived last fall to all of the families we serve. Here is the CQC initial report and here The Family Foundation School response. We received a follow-up letter from the CQC. No new concerns are raised. The letter acknowledges favorably the work we have done to address the concerns identified in their initial letter. It asks for some additional information on recent program improvements. This is our response to the follow-up letter. Finally, here is the letter from the CQC closing their investigation.
The administration at The Family Foundation School has always been committed to being cooperative and forthcoming—because it’s the right thing to do, of course– but just as important because we expect that we will learn something useful. That has been our experience with the organizations that currently provide our accreditation (The Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges and The Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Behavioral Health) and with the New York State Education Department and their partners. We have learned valuable things through this process and that makes The Family Foundation School a better school and program.
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