Standards for child and youth development programs

2020 Edition

Child and Youth Development Human Resources Introduction


A stable, qualified, trained, and supported workforce contributes effectively and efficiently to the delivery of quality programming that promotes positive child and youth education and development.


COA’s Child and Youth Development Human Resources standards address practices that can help a program attract and retain a stable, qualified workforce that promotes positive outcomes for children and youth.  Since employees and volunteers perform the tasks that help to fulfill a program’s mission, it is incumbent upon a program to develop and implement the plans and programs necessary to attract, motivate, develop, reward, and retain the best people to meet program goals.  The standards also focus on preparing incoming personnel to fulfill their roles, and on providing them with ongoing opportunities for continued learning and professional development.  These training opportunities, along with developmental supervision, are essential to fostering a competent workforce.  Competence cannot be defined solely by supervision or training, but instead is a dynamic combination of both elements, along with a variety of other factors including educational background, work and personal experience, and workload.  Viewing competency holistically allows programs to respond to the individual needs of employees by providing them with the appropriate combination of training and supervision.  It is also important to note that when a program has a distinct area of focus, personnel should ideally have training or experience related to the subject matter in question.  For example, if an out-of-school time program is specifically focused on arts education, having training or experience in the arts area of focus will contribute to an individual’s ability to perform his or her job.


Unless otherwise indicated, the term “personnel”  refers to both full-time and part-time employees, as well as volunteers who perform the same duties as personnel and have a regular, ongoing role at the program.  All other volunteers are not included in the term “personnel,” and are covered in CYD-HR 10, “Volunteers.”

In the context of early childhood education (CYD-ECE), the term “teaching staff” is used to refer to individuals who work directly with children in the classroom, including teachers and assistant teachers.  When standards refer to “personnel” or “personnel who work with children and youth,” this includes teaching staff.
2020 Edition



Note: When another person, department, or entity is responsible for implementing some of the practices addressed in these standards, the program should be prepared to provide evidence that this is the case.

Note: Please see the CYD-HR Reference List for a list of resources that informed the development of these standards.
Literature emphasizes that a skilled, stable, educated, well-trained, and motivated workforce is key to providing the quality programming that can promote positive outcomes for children and youth.
Self-Study Narrative Evidence
  • A description of how the program utilizes, orients/trains, supports, supervises, and recognizes volunteers
  • Plan and/or procedures for volunteer recruitment and selection (CYD-HR 10.01)
  • Program staffing chart that illustrates lines of supervision of volunteers
  • Aggregated personnel satisfaction and retention information
  • Plan for promoting personnel satisfaction and retention, including goals for satisfaction and retention (may be included in long term plan)
  • Job descriptions