CDA Competency Standards


The CDA Competency Standards are the national standards used to evaluate a caregiver's performance with children and families during the CDA assessment process. The Competency Standards are divided into six Competency Goals, which are statements of a general purpose or goal for caregiver behavior. The Competency Goals apply to all child care settings.

The six goals are defined in more detail in the 13 Functional Areas, which describe the major tasks or functions that a caregiver must complete in order to carry out the Competency Goal. A Developmental Context, a brief overview of relevant child development principles, explains each Functional Area.

Although the six Competency Goals are the same for all settings (center-based, family child care, home visitor), the Functional Area definitions and sample behaviors differ for each setting and age group. The setting-specific materials available through the Council's online bookstore include detailed information appropriate for each setting.


Goal I. To establish and maintain a safe, healthy learning environment

1. Safe
2. Healthy
3. Learning Environment

    Goal II. To advance physical and intellectual competence

    4. Physical
    5. Cognitive
    6. Communicative
    7. Creative

    Goal III. To support social and emotional development and to provide positive guidance

    8. Self
    9. Social
    10. Guidance

    Goal IV. To establish positive and productive relationships with families

    11. Families

    Goal V. To ensure a well-run, purposeful program responsive to participant needs

    12. Program Management

    Goal VI. To maintain a commitment to professionalism

    13. Professionalism