Child and Youth Development (CYD) Accreditation
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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.
- 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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Note: The criteria for private organizations is utilized to assess the eligibility of CYD organizations.
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.
We have pursued recognition of COA accreditation from entities that fund and/or license human service organizations and programs including:
- Government entities
- Managed care organizations
- Insurance companies
Currently, COA is recognized in over 200 instances in 47 states, the District of Columbia, two Canadian provinces, and China. View our Recognition Report for a complete listing of all COA’s recognitions.
Further Reading and Recommended Trainings
For in-depth detail regarding the accreditation process, download and review the Accreditation Guidelines.
- COA’s Continuous Quality Improvement Standards for After School Programs
- COA’s Risk Management Standards for After School Programs
- After School Human Resources Standards
- After School Program Administration Standards
- After School Program Standards Orientation and Overview
- After School Programming and Services Standards
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Interested in learning more? Request an Information Kit.
Private Organization Accreditation
One Hope United offers a range of services aimed at our mission of "Protecting children and strengthening families" including early childhood education, early intervention and prevention, family preservation, foster care, residential, and adoption.
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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.