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.

Snapshot

  • 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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Eligibility Criteria

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

Read the Eligibility Criteria for CYD Programs.

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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.

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Recognition Report

We have pursued recognition of COA accreditation from entities that fund and/or license human service organizations and programs including:

  • Government entities
  • Foundations
  • 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.

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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 Information Kit

Interested in learning more? Request an information kit.

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WHO IS ACCREDITED?

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 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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