Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Out-of-School Time Services (PA-OST) 3: Access and Enrollment

The agency recruits and enrolls eligible children and youth.
2020 Edition




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.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Recruitment plan and/or description of outreach and recruitment efforts
  • Attendance policy
  • Procedures for registration and orientation
  • Sample registration form
  • Policy for enrolling children and youth with special needs
  • Procedures for enrolling children and youth with special needs
  • File access policy
  • File access procedures
  • Informational materials made available to the community
  • Hours of operation
  • Materials provided upon enrollment, including program handbook
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Children, youth, and families
  • Review files of children and youth
  • Observe how files of children and youth are stored

PA-OST 3.01

The agency develops and implements a recruitment plan that includes:
  1. educating the families of prospective program participants about the program’s goals, activities, and benefits;
  2. addressing potential barriers that might prevent children and youth from participating; and
  3. establishing hours of operation and attendance expectations based on community needs, program goals, and the best available evidence of effectiveness.
Examples: Potential barriers may include, but are not limited to, factors related to transportation, fees, and language spoken.  

Information regarding community needs may be obtained through available data or through assessments, surveys, or focus groups conducted by the agency itself.

PA-OST 3.02

Prompt, responsive registration practices:
  1. support timely enrollment; and
  2. provide placement on a waiting list or referral to appropriate resources when children and youth cannot be served or cannot be served promptly.

PA-OST 3.03

During registration or orientation, children and youth and their families are: 
  1. informed about program goals and activities;
  2. provided with a handbook that details program policies and procedures;
  3. offered a tour of the facility; and
  4. introduced to staff and program participants.

Fundamental Practice

PA-OST 3.04

On an annual basis the agency collects relevant information from children and youth and their families, including: 
  1. identifying information, including name and date of birth;
  2. address;
  3. emergency contact information;
  4. written parental authorization for emergency care including name of the hospital to be used;
  5. relevant health information (e.g., records of up-to-date screenings and immunizations);
  6. whether children and youth have any special needs to be accommodated, including needs related to health or mental health;
  7. consent forms or permission slips, as needed, including any consent/authorization forms related to health or other special needs, if applicable;
  8. authorizations for pick-up, if applicable; and
  9. relevant school day data, if applicable.

PA-OST 3.05

The agency enrolls children and youth with special needs, and collaborates with their families and other involved providers to learn about: 
  1. their strengths and needs; and
  2. strategies for meeting their needs and helping them fully participate in the program.


Agencies are expected to accommodate all children and youth unless: (1) an individual poses a safety threat to him/herself or others, (2) the accommodations needed would result in a fundamental alteration to the program, or (3) the accommodations needed would put an undue financial burden on the agency.
Examples: Children and youth may have special needs related to physical, behavioral, medical, emotional, or cognitive conditions. Strategies for meeting needs and facilitating participation can include efforts currently undertaken to address needs (i.e. at home or in school), as well as ideas for additional accommodations. While some agencies may obtain a copy of a child or youth’s 504 Plan or Individual Education Program, other agencies may work with the family and school to establish other channels for obtaining information about needs.
Note: See PA-OST 6.07, PA-OST 9.07, and PA-OST 18.08 for additional expectations regarding accommodating children and youth with special needs.

Fundamental Practice

PA-OST 3.06

The agency maintains files for all children and youth that: 
  1. contain relevant information;
  2. are specific, factual, and legible;
  3. are kept up to date;
  4. are signed and dated by authorized personnel, where appropriate; and
  5. are maintained and disposed of in a manner that protects privacy and confidentiality.


Relevant information includes the information specified in PA-OST 3.04 and PA-OST 3.05, as well as information that would not have been available at the time of registration, including accident report forms, attendance records, evidence of ongoing communication with parents or other family members, and payment receipts.
Examples: Files and signatures can be paper, electronic, or a combination of paper and electronic.

Fundamental Practice

PA-OST 3.07

Access to confidential files is limited to: 
  1. children and youth and/or, as appropriate, their parents or legal guardians;
  2. personnel authorized to access specific information on a “need-to-know” basis; and
  3. auditors, contractors, and licensing or accrediting personnel, consistent with the agency's confidentiality policy.