Standards for child and youth development programs
Out-of-School Time Definition
Children and youth who participate in Out-of-School Time programs gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood.
Out-of-School Time programs engage school-age children and youth in social, educational, and recreational activities appropriate to their needs, interests, and abilities; promote the development of positive relationships with adults and peers; and provide a physically and emotionally safe environment for young people to spend their out-of-school time hours. Programs may operate at different times, including before school, after school, mid-day, on weekends, and during school vacations, including summer vacations. They may also take place in a number of different settings and be operated by a variety of different institutions, including schools, community organizations, faith-based institutions, for-proft corporations, and the military. They may stand alone or operate as part of a larger network (e.g., a district- or city-wide system), and may also operate as part of a community school or an extended school day. It is also important to note that programs may describe themselves using a variety of different terms, from “after school,” to “school age care,” to “youth development,” to “out-of-school time,” to “expanded or extended learning.”
As noted in the Glossary, children and youth from the ages of five to eighteen are considered to be of “school age,” and this Service Standard is designed to accommodate programs serving a variety of age groups within that range. For example, while one program might serve only children in elementary school, another might be specifically designed for high school youth. In some cases standards include specific guidance (e.g., Interpretations or NAs) to clarify how the standard might apply to children and youth of a particular age range. When standards reference “older youth,” this includes middle- and high-school students (i.e. youth age 13 and up).
Positive youth development emphasizes the importance of helping young people develop the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical assets that can help them transition to responsible adulthood. Accordingly, community- and school-based programs for children and youth are often designed to provide the supports and opportunities that may help young people have positive developmental experiences and improve the long-term chances that they will be personally, emotionally, and socially stable, involved in their communities, and economically secure. Although some young people have more unmet needs than others, all children and youth may benefit from access to the supports and opportunities that promote resilience and healthy development.
Self-Study Narrative Evidence
Policy and procedures regarding the rights of children, youth, and families (CYD-OST 14.01)