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Quality Standards

Quality programs make a difference.

Research shows that students who attend quality afterschool programs have higher attendance records during the school day, performan better academically, and engage in less risky behaviors. These programs have children and youth who are connected and engaged; parents who feel their children are safe and secure; and families who have a sense of pride and ownership of the program.

Florida After School worked directly with service providers to develop a set of standards to serve as the foundation for developing high quality programs. What follows is represents the best thinking in the field and clearly outline what a quality program looks like.


The Florida Standards for Quality Afterschool Programs define the core principles and best practices that lead to the delivery of quality programming for children and youth in afterschool programs. The Standards provide a framework for the development of a caring, dynamic, stimulating and safe afterschool environment for children and youth. 



We recognize that each afterschool program is unique with varying missions and philosophies, and that they serve wide and diverse populations, ethnicities, age ranges, interests and values. The Standards are not intended to dictate policy and practice. They are intended to suggest and offer a strong foundation for quality programming. Implementation is voluntary and we provide a tool to help programs self-assess their operations and then offer support to programs who want to increase quality.


Florida Standards at a glance

Each of the seven categories begins with a guiding principle that defines the intent of the category, followed by the quality standards which indicate quality afterschool programming. The standards are broad-based, allowing for, encouraging and celebrating the uniqueness of each program.

1. Administration and Organization

A high quality program provides a solid framework for equitable afterschool programming; state a mission, philosophy, and goals, in accordance with local and state regulations.

2. Program Management and Staff

A high quality program employs qualified administrative and afterschool educators who are focused on the needs of children, families, and fellow staff.

3. Communication and Interaction

A high quality program provides ways to foster and enhance respectful communication, trauma-informed care, sense of belonging and safety, and positive interactions among children and youth, families and staff while recognizing that people often have many types of trauma in their lives.

4. Program Structure and Activities

A high quality program plans safe, equitable, inclusive and developmentally appropriate social, recreational, and educational opportunities.

5. Health, Safety and Nutrition

A high quality program provides developmentally appropriate environments that protect and enhance the safety, physical and social emotional health of children, and meet local and state requirements.

6. Program Environment

A high quality program provides safe, developmentally appropriate, and inclusive indoor and outdoor environments, meeting local and state requirements.

7. Family and Community Involvement

A high quality program provides family engagement opportunities connected to schools, businesses and community partners.

Want to learn more?

The Florida Standards for Quality Afterschool Programs is just the beginning. Download the self-assessment guide today or contact our team for support. We can provide customized assistance to help you get started or enhance what you have already invested in. 

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