Council on

The Council on Accreditation’s (COA)
Child & Youth Development Accreditation
includes early childhood education, after school,
and youth development programs and organizations
and the benefits of accreditation are many.

Benefits of COA Accreditation

All the information below is taken directly from the COA website found at

The Council on Accreditation’s (COA) Child & Youth Development Accreditation includes early childhood education, after school, and youth development programs and organizations and the benefits of accreditation are many.

For Children, Youth, and Families
  • Commitment by the program to deliver the highest quality services and support positive outcomes Services are delivered by appropriately trained staff
  • Families participate in the decision-making process of service delivery
  • Services are provided in a safe and respectful environment
  • Services support positive outcomes
For Staff
  • Health and safety are protected
  • Risk and liability are minimized
  • Service environments are efficient, effective, and supported by a quality improvement-oriented culture
  • Professional staff qualifications are defined
  • Whistleblower Policy is in place
  • Performance evaluation system is in place
For Board
  • Sound financial management practices are in place
  • Practices are ethical
  • Effective performance quality improvement and risk management systems in place
    Ensures a structured policy-setting process
  • Recognized by payers
  • Facilitates resource development
For Donors / Funders
  • Validation of the delivery of high-quality services
  • Sound financial practices in place
  • Program operations are efficient
  • Risk management policies and mechanisms that prevent fraud are in place
  • Can be used as a tool to identify grant recipients
  • Performance and quality improvement system is in place
For Regulators
  • Can be used as tool to decrease oversight
  • Regulatory requirements can be fulfilled, and duplication reduced
  • Serves as a tool for Medicaid/Medicare, contracting and licensing requirements
  • Risk management policies and mechanisms that prevent fraud are in place
  • Validation of the delivery of high-quality services

Two Types of Accreditation with COA

COA offers two types of accreditation for child and youth development.

Programmatic Accreditation: Each program (site) is reviewed and accredited independently of other programs and its parent organization.

Organizational Accreditation: The organization as a whole is reviewed and accredited. The review includes a percentage of the programs that the organization operates in the site visit.

Click the resource below for more information.

Comparison of Programmatic and Organizational Accreditation

Overview of COA Accreditation

Need more information about COA Accreditation?

This 35-minute self-paced training is a great way to learn about the Council on Accreditation, the accreditation process, COA’s Standards, and how to begin your path to becoming accredited. Even if you are already accredited, this can be a great resource for your staff to help them understand COA Accreditation.


Go deeper into each Step by using the Accreditation Work Plan

The Accreditation Work Plan Template created by COA can be used as a model work plan and modified to suit your program’s needs. It details specific important tasks within each step of the accreditation process, allows you to identify the person responsible for completing the task, has room to add notes regarding progress of issues, and defines a time frame for completion.

Learn how to create an Accreditation Work Plan using this video created by COA!

The COA Accreditation Learning Plan provides hyperlinks to recommended self-paced trainings and tools to assist you and your organization in learning the fundamentals of the accreditation process, COA standards, and how to use the MyCOA Portal. These resources are highly recommended and organizations that take advantage of them are likely to experience a more positive and productive accreditation process.

This document lists the recommended order and accreditation phase within which your accreditation team should review each resource.  All the hyperlinks are active and can be clicked on at any time. We will periodically send you reminders about these resources, depending on where you are in the accreditation process.

A few things to highlight in the chart below: In the case of self-paced trainings, the estimated length of time it will take to view the course is listed. The column “Who is Assigned” provides space for you to list which staff member(s) are responsible for reviewing the recommended resource. The column “Date Taken” can be used to document when a resource has been utilized. If you have any questions, please open a case in your portal using the process outlined in the “MyCOA: Contact COA and Cases Overview” self-paced training listed below.

Phase 1 Training/Resource Type
Prior to
intake call
An Introduction to COA Accreditation Self-Paced (approx. 20 min)
Accreditation Learning Plan Document
Creating an Accreditation Work Plan, Part 1: Getting Started Self-Paced (approx. 20 min)
Accreditation Guidelines Document
How to Read the Standards and Table of Evidence Document
The Format and Structure of COA’s Accreditation Standards Self-Paced (approx. 20 min)
Preliminary Self-Study: Frequently Asked Questions Document
Creating an Accreditation Work Plan, Part 2: Managing the Work Self-Paced (approx. 20 min)
Intake Call
Once you submit your Organization Profile (OP) and Sites and Programs
through the MyCOA Portal, you will have an Intake Call.Within a week or two of the Intake Call, your organization will attend a one
hour live webinar overview of the MyCOA Portal.
Self-Study Performance and Quality Improvement Tool Kit Document
Assessing Practices Against COA Standards Self-Paced (approx. 15 min)
Evidence and Implementation Self-Paced (approx. 30 min)
Stakeholder Survey Guide Document
Preparing for
Site Visit
Site Visit Date Calculator Document
Introduction to the Rating Indicators Self-Paced (approx. 15 min)
Preparing for the Site Visit Self-Paced (approx. 30 min)
Overview of the Site Visit Self-Paced (approx. 30 min)
How to Conduct a Mock Site Visit Self-Paced (approx. 30 min)
Maintaining and Promoting Your Accreditation Self-Paced (approx. 30 min)
Promote Your Accreditation Website Page

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