CAPRA Accreditation

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Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies
Park System Receives National Recognition   
The Monmouth County Park System received re-accreditation on March 20, 2009, one of only 
eighty-nine agencies in the country and the only agency in New Jersey to have received national recognition from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).  
This distinguished accomplishment was announced in Washington, DC at the National Recreation and Park Association 
(NRPA) 2009 Legislative Forum.
The Park System received its first accreditation in 1994, the same year the CAPRA guidelines were established, and has continuously maintained its status as an accredited agency.
Why Accreditation?   
Nationwide, nearly 200 million people use local park and recreation services annually to enhance their physical and social well-being. They seek the highest quality recreation experiences. Agency self-assessment and peer review is an excellent process for evaluating the quality of the system, which delivers these services.
Who Administers Accreditation?  
The Accreditation Program for Park and Recreation Agencies is administered by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies, an independent body which is sanctioned by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA).
What are the benefits of becoming an accredited agency?
Benefits for the public:  
  • Assurance and validation of well-administered services in accord with approved 
    professional practices
  • Potential for external financial support and savings to the public
  • External recognition of a quality governmental service
  • Holds and agency accountable to the public and ensures responsiveness to meet their 
  • Improves customer and quality services

Benefits for the agency:  

  • Public and political recognition
  • Increased efficiency and evidence of accountability Answers the question, "How are we doing?" through extensive self evaluation
  • Identifies areas for improvement by comparing an agency against national standards of best practices
  • Enhances staff teamwork and pride by engaging all staff in the process
  • Creates an environment for regular reviews of operations, policies, and procedures and promotes continual improvement
  • Forces written documentation of policies and procedures
Formal Accreditation Application & Self-Assessment   
The agency undertakes a self-assessment study. This is the key phase because it engages 
the entire agency -- employees, volunteers, citizen boards and committees -- in assessing 
the agency's effectiveness and efficiency. The agency has 24 months from the date of the preliminary application to submit their completed self-assessment workbook. 
National accreditation requires 
park and recreation agencies to respond to 156 standards representing elements of effective and 
efficient park and recreation operations
Visitation/On-Site Evaluation  
A peer review is performed by a Commission-approved visitation team to validate the degree to which 
the agency meets each applicable standard.
 To become accredited, agencies must demonstrate their ability to meet 138 standards (out of 156), 36 of which are designated as fundamental to quality 
operations and are required of all agencies. 
The team prepares a report, to which the agency may respond.

Based upon the total review process, the Commission, at either Congress or Midyear, (1) accredits, 
(2) accredits with conditions, (3) defers decision, or (4) does not accredit. Once accreditation is granted, an agency must repeat a similar process every five years in order to maintain its accreditation. 
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