It is important to understand that state regulations are no guarantee of a quality program.
Accreditation by a national organization requires that programs meet a higher standard than state regulation.
An accredited program must offer the kind of care, attention, and educational activities parents look for in high quality child care programs. It must also offer activities and experiences that will aid a child's growth and development.
To become accredited, a program's strengths and weaknesses are rated by the program staff. Then, a professional child care expert observes the program, and finally, the program is reviewed and receives feedback on how it matches up to the accrediting organization's standards. The Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam, Inc. encourages all programs to seek accreditation so they may provide a higher level of quality care for the children enrolled.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
This organization has developed a set of quality standards that center-based programs must meet to receive accreditation. Receipt of accreditation indicates that an early education program provides a high quality learning environment for children that exceeds the threshold for quality set by licensing requirements. Programs must complete a self-study, submit an application, and have ratings verifies by an NAEYC validator.
National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)
This professional organization offers education and support for quality programming in family child care. It has developed a set of standards that define quality for family child care homes. To have a program accredited by NAFCC, the family child care provider must complete a self study to rate the degree to which standards are met, submit an application to NAFCC, and have the ratings validated by an NAFCC Observer.
Council on Accreditation
National accreditation is available for school age programs that choose to undertake this process. As of September 1, 2008, The Council of Accreditation developed COA After School Standards. This is a comprehensive, yet program specific, set of quality standards for after school program recognition and accreditation. These standards and after school program recognition opportunities support quality in areas such as programming, continuous quality improvement, developing and maintaining healthy relationships, training and professional development, and staff supervision and support.
After School Works NY!
Currently AfterSchoolWorksNY offers a credential for staff and is piloting a New York State School Age Accreditation Program.
American Camping Association (ACA)
Summer day camps accredited by the ACA must meet up to 300 standards for health, safety, and program quality.