National School-Age Care Alliance

January 16, 2002

Who are they?

The National School-Age Care Alliance has over 8,000 members and 36 affiliated state organizations working together to promote quality child care and public policies supportive of children and families. NSACA is the only national membership organization representing the entire array of public, private and community-based providers of after-school programs. Headquartered in Boston, NSACA promotes national standards of quality school-age care for children and youth 5 to 14 years old, and grants accreditation to programs meeting the standards. NSACA also has a public policy liaison located in Washington, DC.

Program highlight

NSACA developed the first widely recognized and adopted quality standards for out-of-school programs for children and youth 5-14. In addition, their Advancing and Recognizing Quality (ARQ) program gives practitioners the opportunity to have their program formally accredited. Communities all across America, including Baltimore, Maryland; Madison, Wisconsin; and Kansas City, Missouri, have received permission from NSACA to use their model in developing similar standards for teen and adolescent out-of-school programs.

NSACA and the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) developed the NSACA Standards for Quality School-Age Care to describe the best practices in out-of-school programs for children and youth between the ages of 5 and 14. These Standards are the foundation for the ARQ System, the basis of the self-study process, and are used to evaluate programs applying for accreditation.

What else do they do?

NSACA is dedicated to supporting child care standards and quality. The NSACA network

  • creates a reliable, strong and diverse alliance of professionals, both on the local and national levels;
  • offers professional development and networking opportunities;
  • supports continuous improvement and review;
  • celebrates accomplishments;
  • develops and promotes national standards; and
  • helps shape public policy.

How do they communicate?

  • NSACA Standards at a Glance

    A brochure containing an overview of the NSACA program improvement and accreditation system, including all 144 standards.
  • Selecting a Quality After-School Program

    A great resource that helps users to identify quality school-age programs.
  • NSACA Standards for Quality School-Age Care

    Thousands of examples to illustrate the standards, guiding questions for staff discussion, an appendix on staff qualifications, a glossary and a checklist for determining if a program is ready to begin the self study process leading to accreditation.
  • School-Age Review: The Journal of the National School-Age Care Alliance

    School-Age Review is a membership benefit of NSACA.

Join NSACA at their 14th annual conference March 7-9, 2002, in Memphis, TN.

For additional information about the National School-Age Care Alliance, please visit their Web site at

National School-Age Care Alliance

1137 Washington Street

Boston, MA 02124

Tel: 617.298.5012  Fax: 617.298.5022