Standards for child and youth development programs

2020 Edition

Child and Youth Development Human Resources (CYD-HR) 1: Planning, Recruitment, and Selection

The program assesses its human resource needs and recruits and hires personnel needed to oversee and operate the program.
2020 Edition




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.
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
  • Assessment of workforce needs
  • Analysis of current workforce composition
  • Plan for addressing workforce needs (may be included in long term plan)
  • Policies and/or procedures for recruitment and selection (CYD-HR 1.03, 1.04)
  • Procedures for ensuring that recruitment practices comply with applicable laws and regulations with regard to protected characteristics (CYD-HR 1.06)
  • Job descriptions
  • Documentation of actions taken to address workforce needs, and/or improvement/corrective action plans, if applicable
  • Personnel records
  • Hiring records
  • Procedures for ensuring that hiring records are retained in accordance with legal requirements (CYD-HR 1.05)
  • Logic model (or equivalent framework)
  • Interview:
    1. Program Administrator and/or Director
    2. Program Personnel

CYD-HR 1.01

The program annually:
  1. assesses the number and type of personnel needed to accomplish its mission, goals, and objectives;
  2. compares the composition of its current workforce with workforce needs; and
  3. establishes a plan for closing gaps through recruiting new personnel or providing additional training to current personnel, as needed.
Related Standards:


 Human resource assessment and planning should be based on the program’s logic model (or equivalent framework), and should occur in conjunction with long-term planning. The program’s plan for meeting human resource needs should take into account any anticipated turnover that may occur when the program utilizes personnel with time-limited terms (e.g., AmeriCorps Vista volunteers), and should ideally function in tandem with the program’s plan for promoting personnel retention, as addressed in CYD-HR 8.10.  
Key to the assessment of workforce needs will be determining: (1) the number of personnel needed; and (2) the skills those personnel should possess. However, human resource assessment and planning should ideally also include reflection on questions of equity in relation to staffing. This should include consideration of whether the cultural characteristics of personnel are generally reflective of the children and families served, which may be particularly important when the program serves children and families who are English language learners (i.e. in order to hire staff who can communicate with children and families in their native languages). Reflection and analysis on this issue, as well as any needed corrective action, may also occur within the context of the CQI efforts addressed in CYD-AM 11. When needed (i.e. if employment patterns do not reflect the demographics of the program population), a plan for corrective action will typically include goals for recruitment, employment, and promotion, as well as timetables for correction. However, COA does also recognize that programs may face challenges with recruitment and retention that may make corrective action in this area difficult.

CYD-HR 1.02

Job descriptions and selection criteria:
  1. state the qualifications, expectations, essential functions, and responsibilities for each position or group of like positions, including the competencies needed to fulfill job responsibilities; and
  2. are reviewed annually, and updated if necessary.
Related Standards:


 The goals of the program, and the nature of the activities offered, should inform the development of job descriptions and selection criteria. While certain competencies will be relevant for all types of programs, others will vary based upon the specific nature and goals of the program. For example, if a program has an intensive focus on arts eduction, skills and experience related to the arts will typically be relevant to include.
Note: See CYD-AM 3 for more information regarding the long-term plan and logic model (or equivalent framework) that should be considered when developing job descriptions and selection criteria, and see CYD-HR 3 through 5 for more information regarding staff competencies. Please note that additional expectations regarding the qualifications of staff providing specific types of out-of-school time activities are included in the OST Programming Supplements.

CYD-HR 1.03

Recruitment practices include:
  1. creating clear and concise job anouncements that encourage qualified individuals to apply;
  2. posting job announcements where they are likely to be seen by qualified individuals;
  3. notifying current personnel of available positions; and  
  4. providing applicants with a written job description.
Related Standards:


Programs’ strategies for recruitment should ideally include partnering with other organizations and institutions that have connections to individuals who may have relevant skills and experience. In some cases this may include applying for programs that can provide access to volunteers, such as Americorps/VISTA.

CYD-HR 1.04

Selection practices include:
  1. using standard interview questions that comply with employment and labor laws;
  2. verifying credentials and references; and
  3. using a standard rating rubric or process when considering and evaluating applicants.
Related Standards:


Selection practices should be designed to help the program assess whether applicants meet, or can be trained to meet, the criteria and competencies included in job descriptions. Credentials to consider include education, professional preparation, relevant experience, competence in required role, recommendations of peers and former employers, and state registration, licensing, or certification, if any.  It may also be advisable to have applicants complete small projects or activities where certain key skills can be tested. For example, a program might ask candidates to facilitate an activity with children and youth in order to gain a better sense of candidates’ interpersonal skills and attitudes, or a program focused on literacy and language arts might ask candidates to provide a writing sample.
Personnel who interview prospective employees should understand both permissible and impermissible or unlawful categories of interview questions pursuant to applicable employment and labor laws.

In addition to considering credentials such as education and experience, it may also be important to assess a candidate’s interpersonal abilities and attitudes. For example, an ability to connect with children and youth, an openness to learning new skills, and a commitment to the program’s mission may also be important to promoting positive outcomes.

CYD-HR 1.05

The program retains hiring records in accordance with legal requirements.
Related Standards:


The retention of hiring records, including postings or other advertisements, applications, and interview notes, enables the program to demonstrate consistency in recruitment and hiring decisions, and provides protection in the event of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or related complaint. Retaining the resumes of qualified individuals who were not hired can also help the program fill any vacancies that might occur during the program cycle.

CYD-HR 1.06

A program that recruits and selects personnel with specific cultural traits or other characteristics establishes that such selectivity is:
  1. legally permissible;
  2. reviewed and approved by the person or entity responsible for providing oversight; and
  3. appropriately considered a bona fide occupational qualification.
Related Standards:


When recruitment and hiring criteria include consideration of specific protected characteristics, such as gender, religion, and national origin, the program should seek legal advice as to whether these characteristics are bona fide occupational qualifications that are critical to the program’s normal operation.  In addition, a program under religious auspices should seek legal advice to confirm that it may require employees to belong to a specific religious affiliation, if the program believes that knowledge of and commitment to the values of the religious tradition are necessary to accomplish the activities of the program.


 In the case of privately-held and owner-operated for-profits, the program’s owners will be responsible for the review and approval referenced in element (b) of the standard. 
NA The program does not recruit and select personnel with specific cultural traits or other characteristics.
Note: For clarification on the “person or entity responsible for providing oversight,” please see CYD-AM 2.02