The Accreditation Process
Applying to enroll in the accreditation process is voluntary, but participating in the accreditation process, once enrolled, is mandatory. Every program that is enrolled in the accreditation process (pre-accredited and accredited) is expected to be actively engaged in the process.
Licensed day care centres, licensed out-of-school care programs and contracted family day home agencies in Alberta can enroll in the accreditation process and receive access to the Accreditation Guide and other materials by submitting an application form, along with their operating license or approved contract to the accreditation agency.
Step 2: Form an Accreditation Team
The most effective way for a program to build commitment to the accreditation process is to form an accreditation team. This team may consist of three to six people representing one or more of the different stakeholders involved in the program: Owner/board member, director/administrator, staff/providers/home visitor/consultants, families, and community members.
After a program enrolls in the accreditation process, they will begin with a comprehensive self-evaluation of its services and policies including such activities as identifying areas for improvement, creating a quality enhancement plan and implementing developed strategies to achieve the standards of excellence. The self-evaluation process takes approximately 15 months to complete.
Once a program is satisfied that it has met all the standards, gathered the supporting evidence and is ready for the formal evaluation, they will request a site visit. A validation team from the accreditation agency will then visit the program to evaluate the program's achievement in meeting the accreditation standards.
Following the site visit, evidence gathered by the validation team during the site visit is submitted to Accreditation of Early Learning and Care Services' office, and then forwarded to a Moderator for review. The Moderator's review is forwarded to the accreditation agency for a decision on whether or not to grant accreditation status. This process may take 4-8 weeks.
Once a child care program is accredited, it is the responsibility of the program to maintain and enhance the quality of service they achieved at the time when they became accredited. Throughout the three-year accreditation term, accredited program submit Annual Reports to the accreditation agency and may receive an unannounced Status Verification Visit. At the end of the three-year accreditation term, programs complete a re-accreditation process.