Accreditation Frequently Asked Questions


What is the first step to learning about ADI Accreditation?
What are the Compliance Guidance Notes?
Are there different versions of the Accreditation Manual?
Does ADI offer guidance and support for programs seeking accreditation?
Is there a fee for accreditation?
What are the requirements to pursue ADI accreditation?
What are some key steps that should be undertaken to help prepare for accreditation?
What is a Mock Accreditation Survey?
What will the survey schedule agenda be like?
Will Board Members be interviewed?
Who else will be interviewed during the survey?
If the program works with a prison system or school system, are there special requirements for the survey?
Are there any special requirements for programs that work with owner-trained teams?
Who decides if the program passes accreditation?
When will the program be notified of the outcome of the survey?
Once a program’s survey is approved, when will the ADI website be updated?
When can a program publicize that they are ADI accredited?

 

What is the first step to learning about ADI Accreditation?

The first step is to review the information posted on the ADI website: www.assistancedogsinternational.org The website has extensive information about ADI. Specific information about accreditation is available in the Standards section under the sub-tab What is Accreditation?. The Accreditation documents are not a public document and are only available to accredited members, candidate programs, and upon request to [email protected]  

Documents providing background information:

  • Accreditation Process Chart
  • Accreditation Procedures

Documents needed to correctly compile program specific documentation for accreditation:

  • Accreditation Manual
  • Compliance Guidance Notes
  • Instructions for Pre-Packet Paperwork 
  • Paperwork Summary Chart 

These documents will provide details about the entire accreditation process and must be read carefully and completely.

 

What are the Compliance Guidance Notes?

The Accreditation Manual lists the requirements to which each program must adhere and the way those requirements will be evaluated (paperwork in advance, paperwork on site, interview, and/or observation). The Compliance Guidance Notes is further explanation of each of the requirements listed in the Accreditation Manual. It provides specific details as to what an assessor will be looking for in order to demonstrate compliance with the requirement. It is important to consult the Compliance Guidance Notes in order to fully understand the Accreditation Manual.

 

Are there different versions of the Accreditation Manual?

Yes. Because the assistance dog field is always evolving, ADI is also always evolving its standards, and therefore updating the Accreditation Manual. ADI reserves the right to publish updates to the manual by January 31st each year. It is the program’s responsibility to make sure the program is using the most recent documents.

 

Does ADI offer guidance and support for programs seeking accreditation?

Yes. ADI staff and volunteers from ADI member programs are available to assist programs seeking accreditation. After you have thoroughly reviewed the accreditation documents noted above, please contact the ADI Accreditation Coordinator at [email protected]. The Coordinator will contact you to answer your questions and to provide support throughout the accreditation process. Programs must take the initiative to seek assistance from ADI as needed, recognizing the importance of starting the process to seek accreditation well before the program’s actual accreditation deadline.

 

Is there a fee for accreditation?

Yes. In order to undertake an accreditation survey there is a non-refundable fee. Additionally, programs must pay for the cost of the assessor’s hotel during the on-site survey visit. Programs are not expected to pay for an assessor’s meals while on the survey. To find out more about the accreditation fee structure please email Laura Hilbert ([email protected]) for programs in all areas other than Europe or Kim van Kerkhoff ([email protected]) for programs within Europe. 

 

What are the requirements to pursue ADI accreditation?
  • Program must be an approved ADI Candidate in good standing to pursue a first time accreditation
  • Candidates must wait a minimum of 2 years before the program can apply for the accreditation process
  • Candidates must have placed at least 10 dogs prior to accreditation
  • Program must be an accredited member in good standing to pursue re-accreditation

 

What are some key steps that should be undertaken to help prepare for accreditation?

First, review the Accreditation Procedures document and Process Chart so you have an understanding of the steps a program will follow. At the beginning, it will also be very important to do a baseline self-survey assessment of your program. To determine if a program is in compliance, review the Accreditation Manual section by section and item by item. The Compliance Guidance Notes will help with this process. This will help a program develop a plan for the accreditation process and how it will improve any areas not currently in compliance.

The next key step is the preparation of the program’s pre-packet. Please read the pre-packet instructions and paperwork summary chart and use these as the guide to prepare your materials. Any requirement marked “Paperwork in advance” must be submitted to the ADI Accreditation Coordinator by a predetermined date before the on-site survey. Although compiling the pre-packet is a detailed and time consuming process, it is a very effective and efficient method to assist the ADI Accreditation Assessor in evaluating a program. It also gives the assessor more time for the portions of the survey that can only be done during the on-site visit, such as interviews and inspections. Pre-packets may be submitted electronically in ADI’s European region (ADEu), but must be done in print for all other regions. Pre-packets must be submitted in English. If the program does not speak English please contact the Accreditation Coordinator at [email protected] for information.

 

What is a Mock Accreditation Survey?

ADI strongly recommends that all programs that are working toward accreditation conduct a Mock Accreditation Survey after the program has completed its preparation process. This is like a “dress rehearsal” and is an excellent method to determine if the program is truly ready to submit its pre-packet and provide additional education and training opportunities for staff, volunteers, puppy raisers, clients, board members and others who may participate in the actual on-site ADI survey. The program should have one or more Board Members or other knowledgeable volunteers, who didn’t help compile the pre-packet, go through the pre-packet to make sure compliance is shown for every number marked “Paperwork in advance” in the Accreditation Manual. This person can then also conduct mock-interviews of staff, clients, and key volunteers for any number marked “interview” in the Accreditation Manual. If there are deficiencies when the Mock Survey is done, the program has the opportunity to correct them before the pre-packet is submitted to ADI and before the actual on-site survey visit occurs.

 

What will the survey schedule agenda be like?

The assessor will work with the program’s Executive Director (or equivalent) to set up a schedule agenda for the survey visit. This varies depending on the size of the program, location, type of services provided, training and placement procedures, etc. The assessor will provide the program with a final survey schedule agenda at least two weeks prior to the survey visit. Surveys generally take two to four days to complete, depending on the size and scope of the program.

 

Will Board Members be interviewed?

Yes, the assessor will interview Board Members. This may be done either individually or as a group, depending on the schedule and items the assessor needs to discuss with the Board Members. A program will be made aware of the assessor’s plan in advance.

 

Who else will be interviewed during the survey?

When you review the Accreditation Manual, make note of all requirements marked “interview” and/or “observation.”  This will help a program determine the people within the program (staff, clients, board members, puppy raisers, other volunteers, etc.) who will be included in the on-site survey interviews. Be sure to review the information in the Compliance Guidance Notes about on-site Observation of Training, which has details specific to that portion of the survey.

 

If the program works with a prison system or school system, are there special requirements for the survey?

The program will need to provide a copy of their Cooperative Partnership agreement(s) for review by the assessor. For programs that have prison programs, there are specific standards and requirements in the Accreditation Manual and Compliance Guidance Notes, Section 7. The assessor will determine if he/she will interview individuals within the prison systems or school system in person or by telephone, depending on the particular circumstances. A visit to these facilities during the survey process is usually also necessary, depending on the proportion of puppies and dogs that receive some training at these facilities. This will all be discussed in advance of the survey.

 

Are there any special requirements for programs that work with owner-trained teams?

Yes. In July 2012, ADI approved standards for ADI programs that provide this type of service. Please see Accreditation Manual and Compliance Guidance Notes, Section 8 for details on these standards and requirements. Please be aware owner-trained teams must work with a program for a minimum of 6 months prior to certification.

 

Who decides if the program passes accreditation?

After the assessor has completed all parts of the survey, the survey report and recommendation are submitted to the Accreditation Review Committee (ARC). The ARC reviews the information at their next scheduled meeting. If there are no questions that require additional discussion, the ARC may approve or deny the survey. Programs that do not pass also have the option to appeal the decision. This must be done in writing to the ADI Board of Directors. The decision of the Board by a majority vote is final. Instructions for submitting an appeal will be provided upon request.

 

When will the program be notified of the outcome of the survey?

The Accreditation Coordinator will initially notify the program about the outcome of the survey following the Accreditation Review Committee meeting. The “official” notification from ADI will be sent via email with an attached acknowledgement letter from the ADI Board Chairman. This is usually done within two weeks of the decision. ADI will also issue an accreditation certificate to all programs that successfully achieve accreditation.

 

Once a program’s survey is approved, when will the ADI website be updated?

In most instances the update will appear within two weeks.

 

When can a program publicize that they are ADI accredited?

Programs may publicize their accreditation status after they receive the official notification letter from ADI.