The NAEYC Council provides a formal process for complaints to be filed against any program that is formally engaged in pursuing NAEYC Accreditation process (i.e., has completed Step 2: Application) when it is alleged the program is not meeting or complying with the required standards, criteria, policies, or procedures established for the NAEYC Early Childhood Program Accreditation system by the NAEYC Governing Board and the NAEYC Council.
NAEYC-Accredited Program Complaint Form
NAEYC welcomes complaints and concerns about NAEYC-Accredited programs and/or the advertisement of accreditation. In order for us to address your concerns, please read the Complaint Policy and Procedures, complete the complaint form below and return it to NAEYC, Attn: Quality Assurance
- NAEYC Complaint Policy
- NAEYC Academy Procedures for Addressing Complaints
- Anonymous Complaints
- Procedures for Filing Complaints
- NAEYC Academy Response to Complaints
- Review of Complaint Inquiry
- Notification of Decision
NAEYC's Complaint Policy
The NAEYC Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation retains the right to initiate a review of any program formally pursuing, applying for, or accredited by the NAEYC Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation at any time if it is alleged that the program is not meeting each of the 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards, Required Criteria, and any of the NAEYC Academy’s policies and procedures. On the basis of information that is filed in a written complaint, available in the public domain, protect well-being of children, or where protecting the anonymity of the complainant is reasonable under the circumstances and does not interfere with or limit a program’s ability to respond to a complaint.
The NAEYC Academy reserves the right to immediately act by any means with respect to any complaint or other information that reveals or suggests any potentially illegal or improper conduct in or related to an accredited program, without investigation or prior notice to the program. Actions so taken will be based on a determination that the nature of the complaint or information reasonably threatens the physical and mental safety or well-being of children and that the circumstances warrant immediate action. In appropriate situations, law enforcement or other local authorities will be contacted directly. The NAEYC Academy disclaims all liability for such actions.
The NAEYC Academy has the right and responsibility to review any complaints that are filed. The NAEYC Academy will investigate the subject matter of the complaint or initiate an investigation pursuant to this Policy and provide the program an opportunity to respond in accordance with due process principles. The NAEYC Academy reserves the right to take any action regarding a program's accreditation status as a result of matters brought to its attention through the complaint process or otherwise. This action may include revocation, deferral, or denial of accreditation. If the program refuses to comply with this Policy, or is deemed to be nonresponsive to the NAEYC Academy’s investigation or to be in violation of the procedures, any such disciplinary action may be taken.
The NAEYC Academy has the right and responsibility to review complaints that are filed according to procedures. The NAEYC Academy will investigate the subject matter of the complaint or initiate an inquiry pursuant to this policy and provide the program an opportunity for due process. The NAEYC Academy reserves the right to take action regarding a program's accreditation status as a result of matters brought to our attention through the complaint process. This action may include revocation or deferral/denial of accreditation. If the program refuses to comply with these policies and procedures, accreditation is revoked. Accreditation can also be revoked if a program fails to meet any of the Required Criteria, or if the NAEYC Academy determines in its sole discretion that special circumstances exist and that the nature of a deficiency, potential harm to any child, or the integrity of the accreditation function of the NAEYC Academy, warrant revocation of NAEYC Accreditation
In evaluating a complaint, the NAEYC Academy also has a responsibility to consider the immediate risk to the safety and well-being of the children. To this end, any complaint that contains evidence or credible allegations of any potential or illegal conduct, which threatens the physical and mental safety or well-being of the children, may be acted upon immediately without investigation or prior notice. The NAEYC Academy reserves the right in such situations to contact law enforcement or other local authorities directly.
The NAEYC Academy is not an enforcement agency. The NAEYC Academy cannot act on complaints in matters of admission, fees, staff appointments, promotions, dismissal or similar matters. Concerns or allegations regarding misconduct of any person at a program or the physical facility in which it operates should be directed to the appropriate local authority for possible action. In situations where illegal conduct is found or the safety of the children is at issue, action should be immediately taken by notification of the appropriate law enforcement or other local authority.
The NAEYC Academy has jurisdiction over complaints related to the accreditation policies and procedures for programs that are formally pursuing accreditation, and jurisdiction over NAEYC Accredited programs not meeting each of the 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards, Required Criteria, Policies, and Procedures. The NAEYC Academy reserves the right to reject complaints that are not specific to the subject matter of the Early Childhood Standards, Required Criteria, Policies, and Procedures.
NAEYC may act on the basis of a complaint or, if required, may self-initiate an investigation on the basis of public information (such as information obtained from news reports, licensing or regulatory agencies).
The NAEYC Academy may also assert jurisdiction in regard to any matter impacting the physical safety and well-being of children in a NAEYC-accredited program, including the program’s compliance with relevant laws, codes, regulations, or licensing requirements; the actions of Program staff occurring at the Program otherwise; any incident at or near the Program.
The NAEYC Academy may re-evaluate a program’s accreditation on the basis of information related to the program’s pursuit of accreditation related policies, procedures, or other matters to the extent that such information, if known by NAEYC at the time of accreditation, would have impacted its accreditation review; any material misrepresentation made either in the accreditation process or in any subsequent filing to NAEYC; or the improper use of the NAEYC’s name, logo, or trademark, or false or misleading reference to accreditation. Any individual who knowingly misrepresents the program on its behalf during the pursuit of NAEYC Accreditation or after accreditation has been awarded may be subject to a complaint investigation/inquiry up to revocation of accreditation.
Except where the safety of a child is implicated in a complaint or potentially illegal conduct is disclosed, the NAEYC Academy will not act upon anonymous complaints. This requires that all written complaints must include the complainant's identity and contact information. The NAEYC Academy will not disclose the identity of the complainant to the program, unless required by law. If information that is available in the public domain is provided anonymously, the NAEYC Academy may initiate an inquiry based upon the information.
The complainant should have exhausted all possible strategies within the program to resolve the situation, such as talking to the teacher, the administrator, the board, or other administrative organizations, prior to filing a formal complaint with the NAEYC Academy. Complaints against early childhood program's pursuing NAEYC Accreditation and NAEYC Accredited programs must be submitted to the NAEYC Academy in writing. Complaints must:
- be submitted in writing, click here for Complaint Form
- provide the identify and contact information of the complainant;
- identify the program (name, address and program id# if available) represented by the complaint and describe the specific matters of the complaints, including all relevant names and dates; and
- include evidence that the program is not meeting the NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards, Required Criteria, Policies, or Procedure's.
No complaint will be invalid solely because it fails to satisfy the above requirements; the NAEYC Academy reserves the right to accept any complaint, that communicates that the program is no longer meeting the 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards, Required Criteria, Policies, and Procedures.
Except where the safety of a child is implicated or potentially illegal conduct is disclosed, communications regarding complaints are confidential and not shared with the public.
The NAEYC Academy will acknowledge written complaints within thirty (30) days of their receipt.
Complaints outside of the NAEYC Academy's jurisdiction. If the NAEYC Academy determines that the complaint is irrelevant or not within the 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards, Required Criteria, Policies, and Procedures the matter is closed and the complainant is notified that no action will be taken.
Incomplete complaints. If all criteria for filing a complaint has not been met or if additional information and/or documentation is needed to determine whether further action will be taken, the complainant will be notified and asked to supply the missing information and/or documentation. No action will be taken on the complaint until the necessary information/ documentation is received. If the missing information is not provided within 30 days, the complaint will be deemed revoked.
Complaints within the NAEYC Academy's jurisdiction. If the NAEYC Academy determines that the complaint or documentation received could affect the program's accreditation process or status, an investigation or inquiry is conducted.
Special Circumstances. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any complaint that reveals or suggests any potentially illegal or improper conduct in the program or threatens the physical or mental safety or well-being of the children, may be acted upon immediately and without investigation or prior notice to the program by contact of local law enforcement or other authorities directly. If appropriate under these circumstances, the NAEYC Academy will endeavor to notify the program as well. Neither the NAEYC Academy nor its representatives will have any liability or obligation to any program or any other person for any actions so taken.
Notification to Program. The NAEYC Academy notifies the program of the complaint within 30 days of its receipt. Written notification includes a summarized description of the alleged issues and identifies the specific NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards (and corresponding Criteria), Required Criteria, Policies, and Procedures that are alleged to be of concern. The NAEYC Academy correspondence shall include:
- Notification that a response from the program is required by the designated deadline which is based on the severity of the concerns identified by the complainant;
- The request for the following documentation on the programs organization related the group, staffing, qualifications, upcoming, calendar.
- Additional documentation may be required based on the nature of the concerns, such as program policies or recent regulatory/licensing reports.
- Notifications that information submitted by the program in response to the complaint will become part of the program's file.
Program Response. The program is required to submit a written response to the NAEYC Academy by the designated deadline established in the letter notifying the program of the complaint.
Admission of Allegations. If the program indicates that the allegations are justified, they must provide the NAEYC Academy with information that indicates what actions have been taken to rectify the situation. The response should include documentation to support the claim.
Denial of Allegations. If the program states that the allegations are not true, they must provide the NAEYC Academy with a written response indicating their rationale and explanation as to why the situation does not constitute failure to meet the 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards, Required Criteria, Policies, and Procedures. The response should include documentation to support the claim.
No Response. If the program fails to respond by the defined deadline date, the NAEYC Academy forwards a second letter, either by mail or email, notifying the program that they have 5 days in which to file a response or the program's accreditation will be revoked.
The NAEYC Academy reviews the complaint and any response to the allegations received from the program. The NAEYC Academy may:
- Close the matter if it decides no further action or investigation is warranted.
- Pursue the matter further by requiring additional verification such as an unannounced visit to obtain additional information.
- Revoke accreditation based on the determination the program does not meet the 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards, Required Criteria, Policies, and Procedures.
The NAEYC Academy reserves the right to revoke accreditation immediately and without regard to the foregoing procedures if the NAEYC Academy determines a program fails to meet any of the Required Criteria, or determines in its sole discretion that special circumstances exist, and that the natures of the act, the potential harm to any child, or the integrity of the NAEYC Accreditation system warrant immediate revocation.
Effective April 24, 2013, the following procedure was implemented with respect to complaints that the Academy has jurisdiction over: If the Academy determines, after completion of the investigation, that a decision must be rendered about the program's accredited status, including a decision to require an unannounced visit to obtain additional information, the complaint, the program’s response and any additional relevant information will be sent to the Scope & Severity Committee for deliberation and decision.
The program shall be notified in writing of any actions or decisions taken as a result of the complaint process. The final decision regarding the complaint will be communicated in writing to the complainant and the program. If the decision is made to revoke accreditation, the NAEYC Academy will notify the public, on the NAEYC website, of the change in accreditation status.