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COA standards

stand·ard noun

A best practice that an organization meets and maintains to become (and remain) accredited.

COA’s standards reflect our philosophy that accreditation is not just another box to check. We design our standards to help an organization:

  • Achieve measurable results
  • Remain committed to the health, safety, and rights of its clients
  • Support its staff
  • Ensure sustainability and promote growth

HOW WE DEVELOP OUR STANDARDS

Our standards are grounded in the belief that when organizations invest in strong management practices and understand and monitor the impact of their services, clients benefit.Our multi-stage standards development and vetting process involves a diverse set of experts and ongoing feedback from those in the field. This ensures that our standards remain rigorous yet practical, reflecting current trends and best practices.

Steps of the process include:

  • Collection, in-depth review, and synthesis of all prominent published research and professional literature
  • Review of trends in the field with Standards Advisory Panels comprised of subject matter experts, agency leaders, and service providers
  • Collection and review of feedback solicited from hundreds of professionals in COA’s network
  • Field testing when necessary with a cross-section of organizations and their Site Visit Peer Reviewers
  • Continuous quality improvement with ongoing review of field feedback and newly published literature

We believe that our standards best serve the community when we allow everyone access to them free of charge, so they can be aware of best practices even when they aren’t actively pursuing accreditation. That is why we offer them here on our website.

BROWSE THE STANDARDS

PRIVATE ORGANIZATION STANDARDS

Standards for nonprofit and for-profit organizations that provide human and social services in the U.S., including home study programs and opioid treatment centers under the SAMSHA mandate. Note: Most organizations fall under this umbrella.

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PUBLIC AGENCY STANDARDS

Standards for U.S. government agencies (federal, state, and county) that provide human and social services.

VIEW

CANADIAN ORGANIZATION STANDARDS

Standards for Canadian organizations that provide human and social services.

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MILITARY FAMILY READINESS STANDARDS

Standards for programs designated by the Department of Defense (DOD) for U.S. military family readiness accreditation.

VIEW

CHILD & YOUTH DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS

Standards for U.S. youth development, child care, and out-of-school time programs. Note: These standards apply only to organizations approved to seek accreditation for one program. Most organizations serving children and youth are assigned the Private Organization Standards.

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Standards format and structure training

Watch a brief video on how to read the standards here.

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Need help deciding which section to look at? Contact us and we’ll give you a hand.