COA Accreditation


COA Accreditation standards are grounded in the belief that when organizations invest in strong management practices and understand and monitor the impact of their services, people benefit. As such, our standards are designed to help organizations:

  • Achieve measurable results
  • Promote the health, safety, rights, and inclusion of persons served
  • Support and retain staff
  • Ensure sustainability and promote growth

How We Develop Our Standards

COA’s accreditation standards are field-informed and sit upon a foundation of research and professional literature. This ensures that our standards remain rigorous yet practical, reflecting current trends and best practices in the social sector.

Steps of the process include:

  • Collection, in-depth review, and synthesis of prominent research and professional literature on identified trends and evolving practices
  • Collaboration with Standards Advisory Panels comprised of subject matter experts including agency leaders, individuals with lived experience, service providers, and researchers
  • Input from hundreds of professionals in Social Current’s network
  • Continuous quality improvement through ongoing review of feedback from the field and newly published literature

Standards Development

View our most recent standards updates (2023).

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Private Organization Standards

Standards for nonprofit and for-profit organizations that provide human and social services in the United States

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Public Agency Standards

Standards for government agencies (federal, state, and county) that provide human and social services in the United States.

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Canadian Organization Standards

Standards for both private and public organizations that provide human and social services in Canada.

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Child & Youth Development Standards

Standards for early childhood education and out-of-school time programs in the United States.