School-Age Care (SAC) is available for youth ages 5-12 years of age, who are enrolled in elementary school, generally kindergarten through 6th Grade. This program is accredited by the Council On Accreditation (COA) and must comply with DoD and COA standards for staff qualifications, program quality, safety, sanitation and nutrition. SAC is offered before and after school and during most school holiday breaks and vacation periods.
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The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, not-for-profit, child and family service and behavioral healthcare accrediting organization. COA accreditation is an objective and reliable verification that organizations and programs qualify for the confidence and support of their stakeholders. COA’s set of standards are based on generally accepted elements of best practice, outcomes-oriented, effective in advancing quality, and responsive to the unique needs and diversity of these type of programs. COA’s standards for Military and Family Readiness are organized into two separate sections:
- Administration and Management
The Administration and Management section includes two sets of standards that apply to all types of programs:
- Child and Youth Development Program Administration(CYD-AM) standards cover practices related to legal and regulatory compliance, program planning, ethics, research, financial management, risk management, security of information, child/youth files, and continuous quality improvement.
- Child and Youth Human Resources (CYD-HR) standards address recruitment and selection, background checks, training and professional development, personnel qualifications, work environment, supervision, personnel records, and the use of volunteers.
The Service sections of standards (Early Childhood Education and After School and Youth Development) set forth additional recommended practices for working with children and youth in programs designed for the populations they serve. Programs implement the two administrative sections along with the applicable service standards. Taken together, these standards represent a set of practices that support quality programming and promote positive outcomes for children and youth. The Service section also includes two sets of program specific standards:
- Early Childhood Education (CYD-ECE) that apply specifically to ECE programs
- After School and Youth Development (CYD-ASP) that apply to both ASP and YD programs.
Each section of standards is organized according to a three-level structure that supports self-assessment and standards implementation. At the highest level, a purpose standard provides the overall aim of the section of standards. At a middle level, each section is comprised of several sub-sections that are headed by core concept standards. Core concept standards describe program components that support the purpose standard. Lastly, at a third level, standards contain detailed practices that contribute to the core concept, and to meeting the purpose. These are practice standards
COA’s standards are grounded in a long-standing, widely held belief that children, youth, and families benefit when a program enhances its capacity to achieve its mission and validate its impact. COA also embraces the idea that positive effects of implementing national standards multiply when programs become part of a community that shares and supports this perspective.
For more information about COA Accreditation, please visit coanet.org