Volunteer Overview

The volunteer review system is the key element of COA’s accreditation process. By relying on seasoned, skilled professionals to carry out the hands-on task of assessing human service organization compliance, COA is able to provide volunteers who are knowledgeable about current theory and practice, and are accepted as professional peers by organizational personnel. Volunteers provide each organization with an objective, professional, and quality review of their programs and services.

Interested in becoming a COA volunteer?

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Volunteer Opportunities

Peer Reviewer

The role of a Peer Reviewer entails a responsibility to all the stakeholders who work with and/or require services from the organizations that COA accredits. A Peer Reviewer’s role is to ensure that the Site Visit is contextual and considers the specific organization and its mission, history, leadership, culture, environment, resources, capacity, and, most importantly, the unique needs and aspirations of the people being served. Peer Reviewers conduct Site Visits for COA's Private, Public, and Canadian reviews.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Current or past employment with a COA-accredited organization; and
  • Ability to demonstrate experience in an accreditation, military or governmental evaluation process geared to improve human services; and
  • Previous experience with standards evaluation; and
  • A graduate degree in a human service discipline, or a non-human service degree and service management experience; and
  • At least five (5) years of continuing management and supervisory experience. This should include experience in budgeting, quality improvement, governance, or other administrative responsibilities; and
  • Expertise in at least five (5) COA service areas with a current resume supporting the areas of expertise; and
  • Recommendation letter from an active COA volunteer, Accreditation Commissioner or representative from one of COA’s Sponsoring or Supporting Organizations; and
  • A recent copy of your resume or CV which reflects the areas of expertise in relation to the standards.

Team Leader

The success of the COA’s site visit is highly dependent on the management skills of COA’s Team Leaders. It is the role of the Team Leader to collaborate with the organization and fellow team members to coordinate all site visit activities. The Team Leader is ultimately responsible for the team’s performance and assures that the team functions in accordance to the Peer Reviewer Code of Conduct. Team Leaders conduct site visits for COA's Private, Public, and Canadian reviews.

Endorser

COA prides itself on the caliber of its volunteer corps. These volunteers are an essential component of the COA accreditation process. COA’s Child & Youth Development (CYD) program accreditation Endorsers make an extraordinary commitment to guarantee quality site visits. CYD Endorsers may be qualified to review one or more of the following types of programs: Early Childhood Education, After School and Youth Development programs. COA Endorsers are recruited and trained based on their experience in any one or more of these specific fields, education, and commitment to promoting quality. In addition to the interviews, record reviews, and observations they conduct on site, volunteers spend time becoming familiar with a program through a review of its Self-Study prior to a site visit. Endorsers may participate in site visits either on-site or as a Remote Endorser, where travel is not necessary.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Current or past employment with a COA-accredited organization; and
  • Ability to demonstrate experience in an accreditation, military or governmental evaluation process geared to improve human services; and
  • Previous experience as a COA Reviewer or other standards evaluation; and
  • Endorsers may be qualified to review Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs, or After School (ASP) and Youth Development (YD) program. Experience between these two groups is not interchangeable.
  • Those individuals who have experience and education meeting the qualifications for both types of programs may be dually qualified to review ECE, ASP and YD programs.
  • Bachelor's degree in a human service discipline, or a non-human service degree and at least three (3) years service experience; or an Associate's degree in a human service discipline, or a non-human service degree and at least four (4) years service experience. Service experience should be in a field providing direct services to children and youth, preferably an after school environment; and
  • Service experience should be in a field providing direct services to children and youth. For early childhood education, experience with or in an early childhood education environment is required. For after school and youth development, experience in either an after school or youth development environment would qualify you to review both after school and youth development programs; and
  • At least three (3) years of continuous management experience. This should include experience in budgeting, quality improvement, programming or other administrative responsibilities; and
  • Understanding of and experience with accreditation standards, systems and processes; and
  • In-depth knowledge of related programming, and at least three (3) years experience working in that environment; and
  • A recommendation letter from an active COA volunteer, Accreditation Commissioner or representative from one of COA’s Sponsoring or Supporting Organizations; and
  • A recent copy of your resume or CV.

Lead Endorser

The Lead Endorsers are senior reviewers who have extensive experience with accreditation and the site visit process, and have demonstrated a true commitment to the purpose and goals of COA Child & Youth Development program accreditation. The success of the site visit process is very much dependent on the Lead Endorser’s skills, professionalism and ability to collaborate with the program, as well as communicate with fellow team members and the program contact. Lead Endorsers are also qualified to conduct solo site visits for smaller programs.

Evaluator

The role of Hague Evaluators is to ensure that adoption service providers are provided with an objective and professional review of their programs and services based on the Hague Accreditation/Approval process, the Hague Treaty, Intercountry Adoption Act, the Hague Standards, and COA's Hague Accreditation/Approval policies and procedures.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Current or past employment with a COA-accredited agency; and
  • Graduate degree from an accredited institution in a human service field and five (5) years of domestic or intercountry adoption or foster care experience; OR
  • Graduate degree from an accredited institution in a non-human service field and eight (8) years of domestic or intercountry adoption or foster care experience; OR
  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited institution will be considered if one’s professional background includes inter-country adoption services. Undergraduate requirements should include a degree in a human service field and ten (10) years of continuous senior management experience that includes fiscal management, organizational governance/leadership, clinical services, or quality improvement initiatives; and
  • A recommendation letter from an active COA volunteer, Accreditation Commissioner or representative from one of COA’s Sponsoring or Supporting Organizations; and
  • A recent copy of your resume or CV.

Lead Evaluator

The Lead Evaluator is an experienced Evaluator who leads the evaluator team through the Hague Accreditation Site Review Process and acts as the liaison between the team members, the agency, and COA.

Military Family Readiness Reviewer

Military Family Readiness (MFR) reviewers are recruited, trained, and assigned to Site Visits whose family programming correlates to their specific experience and education. MFR sites may include one or more of the seven types of family readiness services for which COA has standards. Each Review Team includes at least one Volunteer Reviewer that has military experience and familiarity. The Review Team is knowledgeable about the unique needs of the customers being served, while being mindful of military culture and the differences among service branches. In addition to the on-site interviews, record reviews, and observations conducted on site, the team becomes familiar with the family program through a review of the self-study prior to the Site Visit.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Undergraduate degree in a human service field and three (3) years of management experience that includes budgeting, organizational governance/leadership, program management, staff supervision, and quality improvement responsibilities; OR
  • Associate's degree and two (2) years of military experience (e.g.: current/former civilian employee of the military or active/reserve/retired/separated service member or family member of an active/reserve/retired/separated service member); and
  • Two years of experience working/volunteering with one or more of the Military Family Readiness service areas or other related services, such as: mental health, non-clinical counseling, family preservation, work force development, volunteer coordination, information and referral services, and/or community collaboration/capacity building in military and/or civilian communities; and
  • The ability to demonstrate experience in an accreditation, military or governmental evaluation process geared to improve human services; and
  • A recommendation letter from a professional colleague; and
  • A recent copy of your resume or CV.

Military Family Readiness Lead Reviewer

When the Volunteer Review Team is sent to conduct a site visit, the team is headed by a Lead MFR Reviewer. A Lead Reviewer acts as the liaison between the Review Team, the Family Readiness program, and COA. The Lead Reviewers are senior volunteers who have extensive experience with the site visit process, are knowledgeable of the Standards for Military Family Readiness (MFR) programs, and have demonstrated a true commitment to the purpose and goals of MFR program accreditation.

Volunteer Advisory Committee

The purpose of the Volunteer Advisory Committee is to provide information, guidance, advice, and support to COA in order to develop, coordinate and enhance the site visit experience for all. The advice of this committee will not necessarily lead to policy change and/or decisions however it can serve to improve current and future COA policies.

Senior Fellow

Senior Fellows comprise some of COA’s most experienced volunteers, commission members, and present and former leaders from accredited organizations who are able to be “on call” to execute diverse accreditation-related tasks, which include but not limited to: training; technical assistance; mentoring and support of team leaders and volunteers; and being available for last-minute site reviews.

Commissioners

Accreditation Commissioners are a diverse group of qualified individuals with professional backgrounds that enable thoughtful and skillful participation in the accreditation decision making process. Commissioners review an organization’s response to site visit findings and COA recommendations to assess implementation of the standards and determine the appropriate accreditation decision. Each Commission Group is led by a Commission Chair who is nominated by their fellow Commissioners. Top Team Leaders who are also current or prior senior management from accredited organizations may be eligible to serve on COA’s Accreditation Commission.

WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Money Management International is a nationwide nonprofit organization that provides counseling and education related to credit, housing and bankruptcy, and offers debt management assistance if needed. MMI also conducts community education programs in the areas where we have a physical presence.
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VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL

Mike Angstadt

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Hague Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

Serving as a Team Leader for COA has been an enriching experience in many ways. Utilizing the Contextual Accreditation process to discern the means in which agencies, offering a variety of services, located throughout the US, Canada ,the Philippines and other countries provide best and most promising practices to their consumers has been particularly rewarding. read more>>

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