Accreditation Process Description
Accreditation is a peer-review process that involves submission of paperwork in advance (a pre-packet) of an on-site survey by a trained accreditation assessor. All programs are required to be re-accredited every five (5) years in order to maintain their ADI accredited membership status.
ADI’s accreditation process starts in the late summer or fall prior to the year a Member or Candidate program is due for accreditation. The ADI Accreditation Coordinator will email programs to confirm the program is prepared to go through the accreditation process the following year. This email will also include the most recent accreditation documents. If a Candidate program wants to go through the accreditation process prior to the five (5) year deadline of candidacy, they must wait until they have been a Candidate program for at least two (2) years and have placed at least 10 dogs. If the Candidate program meets these requirements, the program needs to contact Accreditation Coordinator to initiate the accreditation process. To do this please email the Accreditation Coordinator at [email protected].
Once ADI confirms that the program will be seeking accreditation the following year, the Accreditation Coordinator will set-up a phone meeting with the program to discuss the accreditation. This is typically done in the fall.
Programs are encouraged to begin compiling documents to show compliance with ADI Standards after their phone meeting with the Accreditation Coordinator. The Accreditation Manual and the Compliance Guidance Notes documents assist programs in compiling the information. These two documents complement each other by outlining the requirements to meet ADI Standards (the Accreditation Manual) and explaining how a program may show compliance for the requirement and what an assessor may request to see for compliance (the Compliance Guidance Notes). The assistance dog industry is always evolving, so ADI may update the Accreditation Manual and Compliance Guidance Notes on an annual basis. New versions of these documents will be available by January 31st each year. Programs must use the most recent version of these documents for the program’s survey that year. This means programs can begin to compile the required documentation in the fall prior to the program’s accreditation year, but the final documents the program would use for the accreditation process are not available until January 31st of the program’s accreditation year.
Member and Candidate programs are required to submit paperwork in advance (referred to as a pre-packet) of their accreditation on-site survey. This pre-packet is a binder(s) of documents for any requirement in the Accreditation Manual marked “Paperwork in advance.” The pre-packet is typically due to the ADI Accreditation Coordinator in the late winter or early spring. The Accreditation Coordinator reviews the pre-packet. The Coordinator may require further documentation. Once the Coordinator is satisfied with the pre-packet, it is sent to the assigned Accreditation Assessor. The Assessor has 60 days to review the pre-packet and may request further documentation as well.
The assessor and the program coordinate the dates and agenda schedule of the on-site survey. The on-site survey is typically several days and includes interviews of staff, clients, applicants, volunteers, and Board members. The survey also includes review of paperwork and files, observation of clients and dog training, and inspection of the program’s facilities and kennels, if applicable. If a program raises 50% or more if its puppies in a prison system, the survey also includes a visit to one of the program’s prison locations.
Once an assessor returns from the program’s on-site survey, the assessor has 60 days to write-up his/her recommendation. The recommendation is reviewed by the Accreditation Review Committee, which meets monthly. The Accreditation Review Committee determines whether or not a program passes the accreditation.
The Accreditation Process Chart summarizes this process in a visual chart.