Child Care Council staff offer training, technical assistance, and consulting services to child care centers and family child care providers in order to increase the quality of child care programs. We will assist programs in finding the path to quality based on their needs. The following are some avenues to achieve the highest levels of quality, including voluntary accreditation and additional program endorsements. Any accreditation or endorsements achieved by licensed or registered programs will be tracked in our Referral Database and shared with parents seeking high-quality child care.
Family & Group Family Child Care Accreditation
NAFCC sponsors the only nationally recognized accreditation system, designed specifically for family child care providers. This system was designed by hundreds of providers, parents, and early care and education experts in an effort to create a quality indicator for family child care programs across the country. NAFCC Accreditation is recognized as the highest indicator that a family child care program is a quality environment. It is awarded to family child care providers who meet the eligibility requirements and the Quality Standards for NAFCC Accreditation. Accreditation reflects a high level of quality through a process that examines all aspects of the family child care program, i.e. relationships, the environment, developmental learning activities, safety and health, and professional and business practices. Once family child care providers become accredited, they agree to abide by the standards set forth and to be measured against those standards, with periodic integrity and compliance reviews. There are over 2100 NAFCC Accredited providers throughout the United States and in other locations worldwide where military family child care professionals operate.
Child Care Center Accreditation
Since 1985, NAEYC has offered a national, voluntary accreditation system to set professional standards for early childhood education programs, and to help families identify high-quality programs. Today, NAEYC Accreditation represents the mark of quality in early childhood education. Over 7,000 child care programs, preschools, early learning centers, and other center- or school-based early childhood education programs are currently NAEYC-Accredited. These programs provide high quality care and education to nearly one million young children in the United States, its territories, and programs affiliated with the United States Department of Defense.
The National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA) began in 1991 and offers early childhood accreditation for child care centers. The result of Accreditation is improved quality, both in the developmental program for young children and in the health and safety of the environment. Because the NECPA process involves the center management, teachers, and families, all growing as they reach for this higher level of quality, all benefit from the results.
Pathways Accreditation was developed by Children’s Institute in Rochester, NY and a team of experts in the field of early education and care to provide an efficient and affordable way for centers to improve quality and achieve their accreditation goal. Pathways is based on an extensive review of national standards including Head Start, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, the National Association for the Education of Young Children and other national and state level accreditation and quality systems.
School Age Program Accreditation
Council on Accreditation
The COA (Council on Accreditation) After School standards were developed in partnership with the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) through the participation of an NAA Accreditation Transition Team of experts from the field. This process resulted in a blending of the NAA and COA standards into 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, to name just a few.
Summer Camp Accreditation
American Camp Association (ACA)
The main purpose of the ACA-accreditation program is to educate camp owners and directors in the administration of key aspects of camp operation, particularly those related to program quality and the health and safety of campers and staff. The standards establish guidelines for needed policies, procedures, and practices. The camp, then, is responsible for ongoing implementation of these policies. The second purpose of ACA accreditation is to assist the public in selecting camps that meet industry-accepted and government-recognized standards. The ACA’s camp database provides the public with eleven separate ways to search for the ideal ACA-accredited camp.
Other Voluntary Endorsements
Below are several voluntary program endorsements that child care providers can achieve. They indicate a higher quality of care, a healthier environment, or more family-friendly program policies. These endorsements are tracked in the Council’s Referral Database and shared with parents seeking care.
Asthma Friendly Child Care
Child Care Council Inc. has partnered with the American Lung Association of New York to develop a pilot project directed at creating the safest environment for children with asthma to receive care. To begin the process of becoming endorsed, attend one of the Asthma 101 trainings, then self-complete the Asthma Friendly Child Care Endorsement Guide. Child Care Council’s Registered Nurses will guide you through the process of becoming an Asthma Friendly endorsed child care program.
Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care
Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care is a voluntary endorsement offered through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Participating programs complete a self-assessment checklist and submit it to their CACFP representative to be processed. There is no fee for this endorsement. Programs seeking additional training, technical assistance, or support for further meeting the needs of breastfeeding mothers and children in care can contact the Council or their CACFP representative about Infant Feeding classes or other resources.
Programs that receive the endorsement are identified on the national website as Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care.
Eco-Healthy Child Care®
Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC) supports child care providers in creating child care settings that are as environmentally healthy as possible. The program allows parents to choose child care facilities that are committed to creating a safer, healthier environment for children to learn and grow.
Child care centers and family home programs qualify as “Eco-Healthy” by completing a checklist that highlights 30 simple, free or low-cost steps that help you make safer choices for children. Eco-Healthy providers commit to reducing children’s exposure to environmental health hazards.
Eco-Healthy providers are also included on the Children’s Environmental Health Network’s website.