EXPLORING THE ROLE OF AGENCY ACCREDITATION IN SHAPING SERVICES FOR STREET-INVOLVED YOUTH
Over the past decade, the social/human services sector across North America has continually moved towards a strong emphasis on new management systems and tools for performance measurement, as a means to track government investment and to inform services planning. This trend has contributed to the growth of a parallel industry in the form of independent accreditation bodies, which act to develop regulatory standards, as well as to perform evaluations and monitoring. In many communities accreditation now plays a significant role in defining both the eligibility of agencies to apply for government contracts, as well as the performance objectives of organizational management and service delivery. This paper looks at the service system for street-involved youth in Vancouver, Canada, as a site to explore this novel institutional arrangement. Drawing from broader literature on regulatory standards institutions, this paper outlines a research agenda to question the role of accreditation bodies in shaping child and youth care services, as well as the broader values, ideologies, and power dynamics that surround accreditation.
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