To explore the implications of youth program accreditation, Greater Twin Cities United Way, the Minnesota Department of Education, and the Extension Center for Youth Development sponsored three invitational forums with a cross-section of field leaders that resulted in an issue brief on the topic.
So why this conversation, and why now?
- First, accreditation systems exist in early childhood education, school-aged care programs and formal education to guide investments and provide a common framework for improvement. As these systems are being widely implemented in Minnesota, it would seem reasonable that funders, policy-makers and even the public might expect a similar process in the out-of-school time field.
- Second, youth program accreditation efforts and conversations are underway nationally and a proactive Minnesota-based conversation could inform how that plays out and ensure that any movement toward accreditation in Minnesota strengthens the field.
- Finally, given the public funds that support many youth programs, could accreditation help funders and policy makers better define high-quality out-of-school-time opportunities and provide additional justification for increased investments
I invite you to read the issue brief and weigh in here with your comments. What do you see as potential benefits or arguments against pursuing youth program accreditation in Minnesota?
-- Kate Walker, research associate
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