About this guide
Substantial research confirms that high-quality afterschool and youth development programs positively impact social skill development, academic achievement, and risk reduction for the youth they serve. While a variety of factors contribute to quality, research shows that trained and skilled staff are essential to creating safe, engaging, interactive, youth-centered programs. The Washington State Quality Standards for Afterschool and Youth Development Programs have been created to support Washington State programs in achieving positive youth outcomes by providing staff with guidelines for what quality looks like in a program setting.
The Standards are intended to be a clear and concise set of benchmarks that any program serving young people in the State of Washington can strive to meet. They are based upon those developed by dozens of other communities around the country and represent the priorities of a wide cross section of the youth-serving community in Washington. The Standards address the core ingredients that when combined, create a high-quality program.