At our 2020 Annual Conference, we made a very big announcement. Beginning JUNE 30, 2023, ALL members of NATSAP MUST be nationally accredited. Due to the impact of COVID-19 on our member programs, the original January 1, 2023 effective date has been changed to June 30, 2023.

What are the benefits of all NATSAP programs being accredited?

  1. It would improve safety and treatment effectiveness for programs.  This would give our association more credibility in the eyes of those who want to shut us down, legislate, or over-regulate us.  This would give us a stronger voice, one that could be heard with more authority and influence on capitol Hill.
  2. It would allow NATSAP to focus on what it does best, supporting programs, and would shift pressure to assure quality to the bodies that specialize in those standards.
  3. Make no mistake about it, sooner or later we will be legislated into requiring accreditation.  In fact, with the Family First act all programs taking public dollars are now required to be nationally accredited.  Why not act now and get the credit for raising our hands and volunteering to have someone hold us to a higher standard?

We did our homework: We polled our member programs, we spoke directly to those who were not accredited, we spoke with representatives from national accrediting bodies, and we spoke with insurance agencies that offer discounts to accredited programs. We read research articles that discussed safety and effectiveness at accredited programs versus programs that were not accredited. We reached out to other Associations that have made this move.

After considering everyone’s voice, and after looking at this issue from all sides, it was time for the Board to vote. In October of 2019, the vote passed.  The decision was made to require national accreditation of all member programs.

Here are the details:

If you aren’t yet accredited, you do have some time.  The expectation is for all NATSAP member programs to be accredited by June 30, 2023.

Any one of the following accrediting bodies are approved accreditors:
  • Association for Experiential Education (AEE)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
  • Council on Accreditation (CoA)
  • DNV GL
  • Joint Commission
  • The Teaching Family Association


If you’d like the board to consider adding another accrediting body to this list, contact Megan Stokes at  Our Best Practices Committee will consider all national accrediting bodies that are rigorous, address safety, address evidence-based outcomes, and do regular on-site reviews.

We don’t want to lose anyone over this decision.  In fact, we want to attract programs who want to belong to an association composed of the best of the best. 

Here’s how we’ll help you:

For those of us who have been through accreditation, we know writing policies is most of the work. We have sample donated policies that satisfy association criteria available at the home office.  We’ve asked for volunteer programs to step up and mentor anyone trying to become accredited.  These people will be happy to assist you in any way they can.  You can reach out to the home office for a list of these mentor programs with their contact information as well as copies of those sample policies. In future conferences we will have workshops and presentations devoted to helping member programs navigate accreditation. We don’t want any programs left behind.

Our motto is “Guiding the way.” 

We’d like to invite you all join us on this higher path.  Join us in building an association defined by quality and excellence. An association of programs volunteering to hold themselves to a higher standard. An association that takes safety and evidence-based outcomes seriously.

An association that truly guides the way.


The NATSAP Board