Child and Youth Development (CYD) Accreditation

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Overview

Child and Youth Development (CYD) Accreditation evaluates and endorses the early childhood education (ECE), after school (ASP, SAC & OST), and youth development (YD) services of individual programs and organizations that provide these services solely.

COA offers two types of accreditation for child and youth development entities (programmatic and organizational). Organizational accreditation can be implemented in two formats (standard and extended review):

  • Programmatic Accreditation: Each program (site) is reviewed and accredited independently of other programs and its parent organization. 
  • Standard Organizational Accreditation:  The organization as a whole is reviewed and accredited, if it demonstrates implementation of the standards. The review includes a percentage of the programs that the organization operates in the site visit. 
  • Extended Review Organizational Accreditation:  The organization as a whole is reviewed and accredited, if it demonstrates implementation of the standards. The review includes all of the programs that the organization operates in the site visit.

See the Comparison of Programmatic and Organizational Accreditation for more information about COA’s CYD accreditation options.

For information about the meaning and value of accreditation, see the Accreditation Overview page.

Snapshot

  • Four-year accreditation
  • In-depth review of the program/organization’s services and administration and management functions
  • User-friendly, online process
  • Process typically takes 9-12 months for individual programs and 12 – 18 months for organizations
  • An Accreditation Coordinator assists the program/organization through the process
  • Standards and accreditation materials are free

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Value of COA Accreditation

Accreditation signifies that a program or organization is effectively managing its resources and providing the best possible services to all of its stakeholders. Review the Value of Child & Youth Development Accreditation Fact Sheet fact sheet for more details.

To learn about the experience and impact of COA CYD Accreditation from the perspective of accredited organizations, see the What Others Are Saying About COA Accreditation one-pager.

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Timeline and Process

Most programs are able to complete the entire accreditation process in approximately 9-12 months; for organizations, the process typically takes between 12 – 18 months. It is COA’s experience that this time frame provides sufficient opportunity for the active involvement of all stakeholders (such as children/youth, parents, staff, and other stakeholders) and sufficient time for the program or organization to plan for, and implement, growth-promoting change.

Review the Child & Youth Development Process Overview for more details.

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Standards for CYD Programs and Organizations

The Standards for Child and Youth Development programs are divided into two parts:

  • Administration and Management Standards (Human Resources and Administration)
  • Service Standards

Do you want to learn more about the big ideas behind COA’s Child and Youth Development Standards?

Click here for the at-a-glance version of our afterschool and youth development standards.
Click here to review all of the standards in detail. 

The Standards for Child and Youth Development organizations are divided into three parts:

  • Administration and Management Standards
  • Service Delivery Administration Standards
  • Service Standards

COA’s standards for Child and Youth Development organizations can be found here.

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Eligibility Criteria for CYD Programs and Organizations

COA makes a preliminary determination of eligibility after it receives a completed application from a program or organization.

Read the Eligibility Criteria for CYD Programs and Organizations.

Note: The criteria for private organizations is utilized to assess the eligibility of CYD organizations.

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Fee Information

The cost of accreditation varies based on a program’s size and services. Fees associated with a four-year accreditation cycle include an application fee, accreditation fee, site visit costs, and maintenance of accreditation fees.

Read the Fee Information for CYD Programs and Organizations.

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Recognition Report

We have pursued recognition of COA’s CYD accreditations from entities that fund, license or provide quality improvement pathways that result in additional financial or promotional opportunities for child and youth development programs and organizations. Recognition highlights the value of COA accreditation to parents, funders and potential partners and serves as a benchmark for governmental entities.

Currently, COA is recognized in 42 instances across 25 states as an accreditor of afterschool or early childhood programs or organizations. View our Recognition Report for a complete listing of all COA CYD recognitions. 

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Further Reading and Recommended Trainings

Accreditation Guidelines

For in-depth detail regarding the accreditation process, download and review the Accreditation Guidelines.

Recommended Trainings

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Request an Digital Info Kit

Interested in learning more? Request a Digital Info Kit.

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WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Lutheran Social Services of New England is a high-performing nonprofit organization. LSS is a powerful difference maker and go-to resource, driving ourselves to constantly anticipate futures that are different from the past. For 140 years, LSS has been caring for people in need in New England.
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VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL

Barry Gourley

Volunteer Roles: Endorser; Peer Reviewer

It is an honor to be a COA volunteer. I’ve had a great opportunity to work with fabulous COA volunteers, I’ve grown professionally in the COA accreditation process and I’ve met some wonderful people across this nation who are working hard to help and support children and families.
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