Child and Youth Development (CYD) Program Accreditation
Child and Youth Development (CYD) Program Accreditation is the accreditation of services for early childhood education (ECE), after school (ASP, SAC & OST), and youth development (YD) programs, and involves the review of the program’s services and administrative operations.
For information about the meaning and value of accreditation, see the Accreditation Overview page.
- Four-year accreditation
- In-depth review of the program’s services and administration and management functions
- User-friendly, online process
- Process typically takes 9-12 months
- An Accreditation Coordinator assists the program through the process
- Standards and accreditation materials are free
- Programs apply and are accredited independent of other programs, even within the same organization
Value of COA Accreditation
Accreditation signifies that a program is effectively managing its resources and providing the best possible services to all of its stakeholders. Review the Value of Child & Youth Development Program Accreditation fact sheet for more details.
Timeline and Process
Most programs are able to complete the entire accreditation process in approximately 9-12 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 to plan for, and implement, growth-promoting change.
Review the Child & Youth Development Program Process Overview for more details.
Standards for CYD Programs
The Standards for Child and Youth Development programs are divided into two parts:
- Administration and Management Standards (Human Resources and Administration)
- Service Standards
COA’s standards are web-based and can be accessed at any time. View the standards.
COA makes a preliminary determination of eligibility after it receives a completed application from a program.
Read the Eligibility Criteria for CYD Programs.
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.
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
Request an Information Kit
Interested in learning more? Request an information kit.
Private Organization Accreditation
HeartShare assist individuals with developmental disabilities through education, day, residential and recreation programs, case management, and health services, and provides foster care/adoption services, counseling, after school and energy assistance programs, and programs for people with HIV/AIDS.
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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.