The South Carolina Center for Child Care Career Development administers the credentialing and career development system for South Carolina.
Accreditation is another way to judge the quality of a child care program. Early childhood programs can choose to obtain accreditation by a child care accrediting organization, but they have to meet higher standards than licensing regulations.
The program must offer the kind of care, attention, and educational activities parents look for in high-quality child care programs. It must offer activities and experiences that will aid in a child's growth and development and that will help them prepare for school.
To become accredited, the program staff rates the program's strengths and weaknesses. Then, a professional child care expert observes the program, and finally, the program is reviewed. Input from parents is often included.
Some of the items reviewed in the accreditation process are relationships between staff and parents, curriculum offered, staff training, health and safety standards followed, and the environment of the program. After review of these items, the child care program gets feedback on how they match up to the accrediting organization's expectations and standards.
A number of organizations have developed accreditation systems to recognize early care and education programs that generally meet higher standards than are required by state regulations. The following is a sample of national accreditation systems for early care and education programs, listed in alphabetical order.
American Montessori Society (AMS)
AMS is an organization whose membership includes schools, teacher education programs, teachers, parents, and other interested persons. Through a self-study and documentation process a school defines itself in terms of strengths and areas that need improvement.
ACSI is a nonprofit organization, founded through a merger of three Christian school associations. Programs and services are designed to assist Christian schools at every grade level, including early education and higher education.
Council on Accreditation (COA)
COA is an international, independent, nonprofit, child and family service and behavioral healthcare accrediting organization. COA has a set of standards specifically for early child care and development services, child care centers, and family child care homes.
Assocation for Early Learning Leaders
The Association for Early Learning Leaders, formerly the National Association of Child Care Professionals, is a nonprofit organization committed to serving childcare owners, directors and administrators and promoting leadership development and enhancing program quality through the National Accreditation Commission standards.
NAEYC established a national, voluntary accreditation system to set professional standards for early childhood education programs and to help families identify high-quality programs. The accreditation system is administered by the NAEYC Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation.
National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)
The mission of NAFCC is to support the profession of family child care and to encourage high-quality care for children through developing leadership, addressing issues of diversity, and promoting quality and professionalism through NAFCC’s Family Child Care Accreditation.
National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA)
NECPA is a voluntary accreditation system for programs serving children ages birth to five years. The NECPA program is an Automated Accreditation Indicator System (AAIS).