Standards for child and youth development programs

2020 Edition

Child and Youth Development Program Administration (CYD-AM) 3: Mission and Long-Term Planning

The program’s mission and goals are responsive to the needs and aspirations of the community and guide program planning, implementation, and evaluation. 
2020 Edition




Sound administration and management increase program quality and sustainability; promote financial accountability and viability; support transparency and openness; and reduce risk, loss, and liability exposure.
Related Standards:
The program’s practices fully meet the standard, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Mission statement
  • Logic model (or equivalent framework)
  • Long term plan
  • Procedures (or description of process) for long term planning (CYD-AM 3.03)
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interview:
    1. Program Administrator and/or Director
    2. Program Personnel
    3. Person (or representative of entity) responsible for oversight, if applicable
    4. Member(s) of advisory group

CYD-AM 3.01

A written mission statement is responsive to the needs and aspirations of the community, and articulates the overarching aim of the program.


Information regarding community needs and aspirations may be obtained through available data (e.g., findings from external assessments such as those conducted by the United Way, universities, or municipal planning boards), or through assessments, surveys, or focus groups conducted by the program itself.  The program’s advisory group should also provide information regarding community needs and goals, as referenced in CYD-AM 2.03.

CYD-AM 3.02

The program is guided by a logic model or equivalent framework that establishes a clear connection between: 
  1. the needs the program will address;
  2. required inputs (i.e. financial, human, infrastructural, and community resources);
  3. planned activities (i.e. the services, supports, and programming to be provided);
  4. resulting outputs (i.e. the direct results of activities provided, such as the number of children participating, and the number of families engaged); and
  5. desired goals and outcomes that are aligned with the program’s mission (i.e. that describe how program participants and the community are expected to benefit from the program in both the short and long term).


The program should consider both the best available evidence of effectiveness, and the ages and developmental needs of its target population, when developing its logic model or equivalent framework.  The process of developing such a framework can help staff think systematically about how the program can make a measureable difference for program participants and the community, and the completed framework can be a useful tool to support long-term planning, as addressed in CYD-AM 3.03.
 Literature emphasizes that the structure and design of a program should be clearly and intentionally guided by, and aligned with, the program’s purpose and goals.

CYD-AM 3.03

Long-term program planning addresses the overall direction and sustainability of the program, and includes:
  1. reviewing the program’s mission, values, mandates, and logic model (or equivalent framework);
  2. considering input from stakeholders including personnel, oversight and advisory entities, program participants and their families, and other community partners;
  3. considering information obtained during continuous quality improvement activities;
  4. identifying and assessing strengths, weaknesses, and critical issues, including any changing conditions that may impact the program or community;
  5. establishing objectives that reflect the analysis of strengths, weaknesses, and critical issues, and support achievement of the goals articulated in the program’s logic model (or equivalent framework); and
  6. devising strategies for meeting objectives, including timelines, deliverables, and responsible parties.


 Planning should include attention to areas including: financial sustainability; material resource needs; human resources, including recruitment, retention, and staff development; the overarching nature and characteristics of programming, including the type and frequency of programming; the overall climate of the program; logistical issues that may impact program participation (e.g., transportation and scheduling); and the importance of obtaining the “buy-in” of stakeholders including staff, program participants and their families, and the community.  It should also take into account the planning activities addressed elsewhere in the CYD standards, including financial planning (CYD-AM 7) and human resource planning (CYD-HR 1, 5, and 8).
Timeframes for planning may vary from program to program, but should be logical.  For example, many programs will make plans annually, or for the school year or summer, as appropriate to their program cycle.  When the program is part of a larger organization, agency, or network, some aspects of planning will likely be conducted in conjunction with the larger entity’s overall strategic planning process.  
Note: Please note that this standard is about planning for the program’s overall direction and sustainability, rather than planning the details of daily activities.  Planning for the latter is addressed more specifically in CYD-HR 8.08, CYD-ECE 8, and CYD-OST 8.