Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Out-of-School Time Services (PA-OST) 8: Community Relationships and Partnerships

Connections with other community agencies, institutions, and members help the agency support and engage 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
No Self-Study Evidence
  • List of community agencies, institutions, and resources (including both current and potential partners)
  • Documentation of collaboration efforts, including collaboration with school personnel if applicable (e.g., meeting minutes, correspondence, agreements, contracts, etc.)
  • Documentation of activities that connect children and youth with the community (e.g., in activity plans)
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Children, youth, and families
    4. Program host, if applicable and possible
  • Observe interactions between personnel and program host, where applicable and possible

PA-OST 8.01

The agency develops and maintains a list of community agencies and institutions to identify the potential for collaboration and partnerships consistent with the program’s goals and areas of focus.
Examples: Relevant community agencies and institutions may include, but are not limited to: schools; libraries; parks; community centers; recreation and athletic services and facilities; cultural institutions (e.g., museums or theatres); community colleges and universities; local businesses; faith-based institutions; and other out-of-school time programs.

PA-OST 8.02

The agency establishes partnerships that enable it to sustain and enhance programming by facilitating access to resources that include:
  1. needed space, transportation, equipment, supplies, and funding, including sources of subsidy that can help make the program affordable;
  2. experts with specialized content knowledge relevant to programming and activities;
  3. opportunities for staff training and professional development;
  4. opportunities to recruit potential personnel and volunteers; and
  5. opportunities to recruit prospective program participants.

PA-OST 8.03

The agency partners with school-day personnel to: 
  1. ensure that programming and activities complement, extend, and expand school day learning;
  2. learn about the strengths, needs, and progress of children and youth; 
  3. communicate information about children and youth’s performance and progress at the program; and
  4. design a schedule that complements and extends the school-day routine, to the extent possible and appropriate.


While implementation of this standard may be especially critical when an agency partners with a school to offer academic programming and/or homework help, building relationships with school-day personnel can be beneficial for all types of programs. If an agency finds it challenging to establish partnerships with school-day personnel, it may make sense to consider building relationships with appropriate staff at the district level. This may be especially relevant when an agency serves students who attend different schools.
NA The agency does not run a program designed to collaborate with a school.

PA-OST 8.04

Children and youth are provided with opportunities to get to know, become involved with, and contribute to their communities.
Examples: Children and youth may contribute to the community through activities such as community service or service learning. Some agencies may also strive to remain aware of, and encourage children and youth to attend, outside opportunities and events related to programming and areas of interest. In some cases implementation of this standard may overlap with some aspects of PA-OST 8.02, regarding utilization of community resources. For example, recruiting and matching children with volunteer mentors will simultaneously foster children’s connection to the community.