With a strong commitment to early childhood care and education over the past two years, ARCHS has helped 20 area childcare centers achieve accreditation - an important recognition by state and national accreditation boards as establishing and maintaining high-quality learning and nurturing environments for children birth to age eight.

Additionally, over the past four years, ARCHS has helped 21% (26 centers) of all currently accredited programs in St. Louis City/County and St. Charles County to achieve accreditation status.

Recently, Training Up a Child Development Center in St. Louis achieved Missouri Accreditation. Over the past year, ARCHS provided strategic technical assistance and professional development support to Training Up a Child as they completed the accreditation process.

"We were blessed to have ARCHS be a part of our team to reach this goal. As a director, I can truly say, the expertise and financial support ARCHS gave to us was the only way we were able to reach accreditation," said owner Kebra Henderson.

"ARCHS prepared us by helping our teachers receive the educational credentials, providing training classes to administration, and supporting us with a mentor the entire way through until the finish line. They assisted us with resources and books, toys, outdoor play equipment - to meet the indicators for a quality care environment."

Through ARCHS' Accreditation Program, childcare center grantees received on-site training and technical assistance, professional development support, and funds to support quality improvement efforts .

"Accreditation has helped our center understand what quality care looks like and step up to the bar. We are elated to have this stamp of approval," Henderson said. "It's helped our administration and staff understand we are not what some people see childcare as 'glorified babysitters', but we are certified quality childcare professionals."

According to Henderson, accreditation also means as much to families as it does to the childcare professionals themselves.

"Families have an opportunity to feel a sense of peace and comfort in knowing when they drop their child off, the environment and staff is practicing in a manner that not only meet standard licensing practices, but also the high quality accreditation standards."

Due to last year's state budget cuts, ARCHS' Accreditation and Start Up and Expansion Programs are currently suspended and are not providing expertise to more than 80 area childcare programs.

ARCHS' Educare and Parent Education Programs continue to provide services to area childcare professionals, children, and families