New Standards of Quality Released for Afterschool Programs

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As afterschool/out-of-school time programs and organizations are working both to make and seek ways to demonstrate their impact, the Council on Accreditation, with the input of leading organizations in the out-of-school time field, has released revised standards of quality for afterschool.

Today, the Council on Accreditation (COA), a national accreditor of afterschool programs and organizations, announces the release of updated standards of best practice for afterschool (out-of-school time) programs. With this release, COA is emphasizing key practices that are critical for the developmental growth of children and youth through participation in high-quality afterschool programs. Notable among the updates to the standards are a) enhanced continuous quality improvement practices; b) an emphasis on strengthening program design; c) highlighting practices that support social-emotional development; and d) the promotion of best practices for specific program types, including: arts education, academic enrichment (including STEM and literacy), mentoring, college and career readiness, health and wellness, and homework help and tutoring.

Richard Klarberg, COA’s President and CEO, said, “The release of the revised standards for afterschool programs could not have come at a more important time for the out-of-school time field. Emphasizing what research has to say about the practices that promote quality in out-of-school time through the revised standards, coupled with the external validation of quality provided by the accreditation process provides an avenue for programs and organizations to improve and demonstrate the quality of the services they provide to their communities.”

The standards were revised in consultation with leading organizations in the field, including: the Afterschool Alliance, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Children and Youth Services Division – City of Decatur, GA, Child Trends, Coalition for Community Schools/Institute for Educational Leadership, Department of the Army, US Department of Defense, Douglas County School District, Colorado, Foundations, Inc., Kids Included Together, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, National AfterSchool Association, National Center for Families Learning, National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment, National Institute on Out of School Time, Partnership for 21st Century Learning, United Way of Northern New Jersey, YMCA of the USA, and YWCA.

The revised standards are free and available to the public at

About COA: Founded in 1977, COA is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of the full continuum of social service organizations and programs in the United States and Canada. Over 2,200 programs — voluntary, public, and proprietary; local and statewide; large and small — have either successfully achieved COA accreditation or are currently engaged in the process. Presently, COA is recognized in 47 instances in 27 states as an accreditor of early childhood and afterschool programs and organizations. To learn more about afterschool program or organization accreditation, please visit

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