The Georgia Afterschool & Youth Development (ASYD) Quality Standards

What are the Georgia Afterschool & Youth Development Standards?

Georgia’s afterschool and youth development programs provide thousands of youth – from kindergarten through high school – with safe and enriching environments in their time outside of the home and school. High quality afterschool and youth development programs can make important contributions to young people’s development and well being. To ensure that Georgia’s young people are equipped to thrive and succeed in their lives, our afterschool and youth development programs must provide environments and experiences that benefit youth socially, emotionally, and academically.

The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services Office of Prevention and Family Support partners with the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services Wellbeing Section, and the Georgia Department of Public Health to collaborate in developing the Georgia Afterschool and Youth Development (ASYD) Quality Standards and Conference. Visit the ASYD website to learn more about the Quality Standards and the 2018 conference.  

The Nine Quality Elements:

  1. Programming & Youth Development
  2. Linkages with the School Day
  3. Environment & Climate
  4. Relationships
  5. Health & Well-Being
  6. Staffing & Professional Development
  7. Organizational Practices
  8. Evaluation & Outcomes
  9. Family & Community Partnerships

Quality Element 1: Programming & Youth Development


A quality program designs and implements a flexible, well-rounded daily schedule that supports the physical, social, and cognitive development of all youth by providing programming and activities that are well- organized, developmentally appropriate, and offer opportunities to gain new knowledge and skill.


A quality program:

1.1 Promotes a strength-based approach to programming that fosters the relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities that youth need to thrive

1.2 Offers project-based, experiential and hands-on activities

1.3 Ensures that youth experience a balance of group sizes across the program day

1.4 Provides activities that feature an array of instructional approaches

1.5 Offers access to materials that effectively support program activities and meets staff and youth needs

1.6 Solicits and incorporates youth voice in the planning, development and implementation of programming

1.7 Integrates opportunities that foster responsibility, autonomy and leadership throughout the program

1.8 Includes opportunities for reflection and promotes critical thinking and problem solving skills

1.9 Fosters content knowledge in a wide variety of subject matter

1.10 Includes opportunities for youth to build life skills

1.11 Promotes self-competence and teaches youth responsible decision-making

1.12 Incorporates opportunities for youth to gain competency in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and music

1.13 Ensures that programming is culturally appropriate and linguistically sensitive

1.14 Provides opportunities for college and career readiness and workforce development

1.15 Includes opportunities for youth to engage in international education and gain global competency

Quality Element 2: Linkages with the School Day


A quality program communicates and collaborates with school personnel to ensure that afterschool programming and activities complement and support school day learning, support performance standards, and build strong content knowledge and academic skills in youth.


A quality program:

2.1 Establishes and maintains strong and intentional links to the school day

2.2 Supports Georgia Common Core Standards and local performance benchmarks

2.3 Provides opportunities for participants to develop knowledge in content areas that complement the school day including, but not limited to, literacy, STEAM, and social studies

2.4 Incorporates academic support, including homework assistance and/or tutoring

2.5 Ensures that youth develop key academic skills, including research and study skills

Quality Element 3: Environment & Climate


A quality program provides a safe, clean, and developmentally appropriate environment that meets the physical needs of all youth; supports best practice programming, and reflects the needs and interests of youth.


A quality program:

3.1 Has a physically safe and clean environment

3.2 Ensures that the space, equipment, and materials are suitable for the ages and skill levels of youth and meet the program’s needs

3.3 Adheres to state and local licensing requirements

3.4 Supports youth in navigating the learning space independently, taking initiative, and exploring their interests

3.5 Offers frequent access to nature and/or an outdoor space when possible

3.6 Has a physical environment that reflects the work and interests of youth and the program’s activities

3.7 Allows for the inclusion and engagement of differently-abled youth

3.8 Reflects and incorporates the culture and language of youth and their families

3.9 Provides intentional character education and opportunities for moral action that promote core values in all domains of youths’ lives

Quality Element 4: Relationships


A quality program fosters and nurtures positive relationships and interactions among staff, youth, families, and communities; provides a tolerant and respectful environment that is safe from teasing, bullying, and violence; and promotes diversity.


A quality program:

4.1 Builds positive relationships with youth that are supportive and nurturing

4.2 Ensures that staff are role models of positive and respectful adult relationships

4.3 Incorporates relationship-building opportunities among peers and ensures that youth interact with one another in positive ways

4.4 Teaches and encourages use of conflict resolution skills among youth

4.5 Reinforces positive behavior and employs strength-based techniques to address behavioral issues

Quality Element 5: Health & Well Being


A quality program supports and promotes the social and emotional needs of youth, is committed to diversity, tolerance and inclusion, and provides opportunities for youth to be physically activity and learn and practice healthy habits.


A quality program:

5.1 Provides a socio-emotionally safe and supportive environment that is free of bullying and harassment for youth

5.2 Promotes a culture of diversity, tolerance, inclusion, and freedom of self-expression

5.3 Offers regular opportunities for youth to engage in physical fitness and build health and nutrition knowledge and skills

5.4 Collaborates with the local school system to offer complementary physical activities to the annual fitness assessment pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-777 (Shape Act)

5.5 Incorporates nutritious snack and/or meal options, if provided

5.6 Communicates with families to ensure that staff are aware of the individualized needs and special health concerns of youth

5.7 Seeks to connect families and caregivers with information and community resources to support the well-being of families and youth

Quality Element 6: Staffing & Professional Development


A quality program employs staff and volunteers who value each youth, understand youths’ developmental needs, and develop working relationships with coworkers, youth, families and caregivers and other partners. A quality program supports the professional growth of staff and volunteers by providing ongoing professional development that bolsters the knowledge and skill necessary for implementing best practice programming.


A quality program:

6.1 Utilizes a performance evaluation system for staff and volunteers and provides appropriate supervision, support and feedback

6.2 Offers all staff and volunteers ongoing professional development and fosters a commitment to continual growth

6.3 Treats staff as professionals and provides staff with meaningful opportunities for professional growth

6.4 Ensures that staff and volunteers are competent in academic and skill-based domains, as appropriate to their positions

6.5 Trains staff to plan and implement programming and activities that are appropriate for the age, skill level, and interests of youth

6.6 Monitors and maintains staff-to-youth ratio as per state and local regulations

6.7 Holds regular staff meetings

6.8 Offers training to ensure compliance with OCGA § 19-7-5(c)(1) (Mandated Reporter of Child Abuse or Neglect)

Quality Element 7: Organizational Practices


A quality program has a clear mission and well-defined goals, sound fiscal management, and clear policies and procedures that support quality and sustainability.


A quality program:

7.1 Clearly defines the organization’s mission, vision, values and goals and aligns this framework with specific outcomes to measure progress

7.2 Develops and employs an employee handbook that specifies internal policies and procedures

7.3 Establishes program policies and procedures and makes them available to families and caregivers and stakeholders

7.4 Establishes and maintains clear attendance and participation expectations

7.5 Has a disciplinary protocol and makes clear the expectations for youths’ behavior

7.6 Maintains a system for the collection and monitoring of youth attendance data

7.7 Maintains confidential records on all youth and ensures records are up-to-date

7.8 Adheres to state and local licensing requirements (e.g., health certificate, security clearance, insurance, etc.)

7.9 Provides a clear salary structure for staff

7.10 Maintains a sound budget; reviews and adjusts budget periodically and as necessary

7.11 Completes all required reports and submits them in a timely manner

7.12 Ensures that lesson plans are available and accurate, and the program schedule and room assignments are posted

7.13 Ensures that materials and supplies are organized, maintained, and accessible to staff for effective program delivery

Quality Element 8: Evaluation & Outcomes


A quality program has measurable program and outcomes-based goals; and a system and plan in place for gathering data, engaging in data- driven decision-making, implementing program improvement strategies, and regularly reassessing outcomes.


A quality program:

8.1 Delineates measurable program goals and objectives that reflect the organization’s mission

8.2 Selects and implements appropriate assessment tools to measure the effectiveness of program practices and status of youth outcomes

8.3 Obtains and analyzes data and compares findings to the organization’s mission, goals, and objectives

8.4 Employs data to design and implement an improvement plan that has measurable goals and objectives

8.5 Continually engages in data-driven decision-making and regularly reassesses findings

8.6 Develops the capacity in staff to carry out the data-driven decision-making process as a team

Quality Element 9: Family & Community Partnerships


A quality program builds meaningful relationships and collaborates with families and caregivers to enhance programming and foster the healthy development of youth. A quality program develops community partnerships to establish an educative community and form an interconnected network that supports the holistic well-being of youth.


A quality program:

9.1 Builds meaningful relationships with families and caregivers and interacts with them in respectful and welcoming ways

9.2 Develops and maintains community collaborations to improve and extend programming

9.3 Communicates with families and caregivers regarding youths’ needs and well-being

9.4 Solicits and incorporates the input of families and caregivers in decision making