Merakey Achieves Praesidium Accreditation

Earning the Highest Honor for its Abuse Prevention Practices

ARLINGTON, Texas--()--Praesidium, a national leader in risk management and prevention of sexual abuse against vulnerable populations, proudly announced today that Merakey, a leading developmental behavioral health and education provider, has achieved Praesidium Accreditation, demonstrating their commitment to meeting and exceeding the highest industry standards in abuse prevention. Merakey’s accreditation accomplishment exemplifies how critical it is to have a committed ‘voice at the top’ from leadership and collaborative champions across the organization to accomplish enterprise-wide abuse risk management enhancements.

To achieve Accreditation, Merakey underwent a rigorous process to implement Praesidium’s Accreditation Standards focusing on eight primary operational areas within their business: policies, screening and selection, training, monitoring and supervision, consumer participation, internal feedback systems, responding, and administrative practices. Praesidium then verified Merakey’s successful implementation of these standards. Merakey will be accredited for three years, and during this time will commit to uphold fundamental organizational values and stringent safety practices that demonstrate their commitment to protecting those in their care from abuse.

In addition to achieving Praesidium Accreditation, six individuals from Merakey’s leadership team have become Certified Praesidium Guardians. These organizational leaders supported the organizational change efforts needed to accomplish Accreditation and will continue to serve as internal experts on abuse prevention to sustain Merakey’s culture of safety.

The Key Members Driving This Initiative, include:

  • Ted Dallas, President and Chief Operating Officer
  • Jennifer Kane, Chief Compliance Officer
  • Julie Smith, Director of Project Management Office, and her team members: Samantha Dayton and Corinne Pisauro

The Six Certified Praesidium Guardians, include:

  • Brandon Fisher, Chief Strategy Officer
  • Jill Weitz, General Counsel
  • Suzanne Campbell, Vice President of Administration, Adult Behavioral Health Services
  • Sherri Portnoy, Vice President of Administrative and Professional Services, IDD Services
  • Alexandra Markey, Vice President of Operations, Children and Family Services
  • Cynthia Hennessy, Executive Director of IDD Quality and Specialized Services

“From the beginning, it was clear how committed this organization was to ensuring they were doing everything possible to create and sustain a culture of safety. This achievement communicates that client protection is top priority and comprehensively integrated within their delivery of services,” said Aaron Lundberg, MSW, President & CEO of Praesidium. “Merakey’s Accreditation achievement also demonstrates to various stakeholders including clients and their families, funders, peer organizations, and more, how an organization can differentiate themselves as a leader in the human services space, moving beyond compliance tasks and fully being committed to best practices that keep individuals safe.”

Merakey operates in twelve states, with over 660 locations of programs and services and more than 9,000 staff members as they support over 40,000 individuals and families each year. Merakey has developed a unique continuum of care providing services in mental and behavioral health, substance use disorder, education, foster care and permanency, autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, older adult services, and community-based services.

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About Praesidium

Praesidium specializes in preventing sexual abuse in organizations that serve youth and vulnerable adults. Over a period in excess of 30 years, the company has reviewed over 4,000 cases of abuse within organizations to determine the root causes of sexual abuse within organizational settings. Praesidium employs more than 50 staff, including licensed social workers, lawyers, health care researchers, and other experts. The company has served over 5,000 clients with a broad range of products and services to aid organizations in preventing abuse, including online and instructor–led trainings, organizational risk assessments, model policies, and background checks. Having trained more than one million people online and hundreds of thousands in person, Praesidium is the largest and most comprehensive sexual abuse risk management firm globally.


Brooke Pratt


Brooke Pratt