Thank you for your interest in child care accreditation through the City of Madison. We appreciate your efforts to provide the best quality care to our children and families. The following information is intended to provide center administrators and boards with a brief introduction to the process of becoming a City of Madison accredited center.

Family Child Care Providers are accredited through Satellite Family Child Care . Please contact Satellite for accreditation information.

Programs that are Eligible for Madison Accreditation

  • Non-profit child care centers
  • Business Corporations
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Government sponsored programs
  • Family child care systems and family child care providers
  • All eligible programs must be located within the limits of City of Madison

Programs that are Not Eligible for Madison Accreditation

  • Programs that teach, practice or promote religion in enrollment, instructional policies or materials
  • Programs located outside of the City of Madison

Benefits of Madison Accreditation

All Madison accredited centers receive the following benefits:

  • Consultation, support and training for program quality improvement during and after accreditation
  • Eligibility to serve families receiving Madison Child Care Tuition Assistance
  • Eligibility to participate in Pathways to Quality program
  • Eligibility for Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation program

Non-profit and/or government sponsored programs within the Madison City limits are also eligible for the following:

  • Grants, training and technical assistance from City staff on an ongoing basis
  • Non-profit centers within the Madison city limits are also eligible for loans

Requirements for Madison Accreditation

Cost for Madison Accreditation

Centers pay an application fee and an annual fee for accreditation. Fees are determined by the program's Wisconsin Group Child Care licensed capacity, the age of children served (infant-toddler, preschool or school age), and the program's service to families receiving public child care assistance. The application fee is submitted with the application; the annual fee is billed at the start of every year.

Areas Covered in the Madison Accreditation Standards

By City of Madison ordinance, accredited programs must meet standards relating to Organization, Administration, Personnel, Program, Interactional Setting, and Physical Environment and Furnishings. These areas are covered under the following topics:

Section I: Administrative Standards – Agency Development

     A. Leadership

     B. Agency Management

Section II: Administrative Standards – Program Oversight

     A. Interactions Among Teachers and Children

     B. Curriculum

     C. Personnel

     D. Staff and Family Relationships

     E. Physical Environment

     F. Health and Safety

     G. Nutrition and Food Service

Section III: Program Standards Birth through Preschool

     Application of Administrative Standards Program Oversight A through G

Section IV: Program Standards School Age

     Application of Administrative Standards Program Oversight A through G

Madison Accreditation Process

In Madison accreditation, a City of Madison child care specialist, who maintains close contact with the administrative staff person responsible for the program, conducts the review. The specialist may also communicate with the owner, board, or parent committee. Key elements of the accreditation process include:

  • Review of licensing compliance
  • Review of center policies, procedures, budget and finances
  • Review of written information provided by administrative and program staff
  • Several observation visits to each classroom and written review
  • Discussion meeting with each classroom team and the administrator, of their classroom’s observations and written
  • A plan of action for meeting standards if changes are required
  • Assistance (training, consultation, small grants) to staff and administrator throughout the process
  • Where change was required for accreditation, a final review to determine whether the program meets the standards
  • Signing of the Accreditation Statement of Compliance at the completion of each accreditation cycle.

While the Madison accreditation process is somewhat demanding, accredited programs report that they find the process very helpful in recognizing and improving the quality of care they provide for children and families. They also appreciate the support and consultation that occurs during accreditation. It is our hope that the result of this process will be continued improvement in the quality of care available to Madison’s children.

Submitted accreditation applications are reviewed and accreditation eligibility and priority are determined. Based on eligibility and child care specialist caseloads, direct program observations will begin. The emphasis of City Accreditation is based upon the result of direct program observation. 

Applying For Madison Accreditation

Please contact Monty Marsh, the Early Care and Education Manager at 608-267-4995 for an application and further information on accreditation.