Standards for Afterschool:
Safety and Environmental Health
Download the safety and environmental health standards document as .pdf file »
There are safeguards in place to protect youth from getting a major injury or illness while at
the program and to provide for their basic comforts.
- Staff are aware of the individual health needs of the youth
Staff are aware of youths' dietary restrictions, allergies, medications, and other
individual health needs, and they keep this information confidential. Staff may carry a
list of youth with food allergies during snack or meal time as an added precaution.
- Staff are altert to potential hazards in the environment
Staff recognize potentially dangerous conditions as they appear and take immediate
precautions to protect youth from any serious hazards they see in the indoor and
- The program conducts regular inspections using check-lists to ensure that the
indoor and outdoor environment is clean and free of hazards that can cause injury or
illness to the youth
- The program conducts daily, periodic, and bi-annual inspections and uses an
appropriate check-list for each. See the resources section for sample check-lists.
(Note: NJ Licensing includes basic requirements in the areas of cleanliness and
environmental hazards. In some cases, the NJ Afterschool Quality Standards sample
check-lists go beyond licensing requirements.)
- The program addresses any problems with hazards or cleanliness quickly by either
making immediate corrections or ensuring youth are not exposed to the hazard. If the
hazard requires longer term remediation, the program follows up as necessary.
- The program takes security precautions that go beyond NJ Licensing
- The program conducts annual state and federal background checks (or confirms that
background checks already have been conducted) on enrichment providers,
presenters, and volunteers who will be alone with youth at any time, in addition to
regular staff. A staff person is present at all times when non-staff without background
checks are with youth. Non-staff sign in and out when visiting the program. The
program makes families aware of these policies.
- All of the doors to the program's spaces are locked to the outdoors and monitored from
- The program's outdoor space is secured to protect youth from various hazards,
including cars, strangers, and animals.
- There are policies or procedures in place to ensure youth move safely from one space
- Parents or guardians periodically update signed forms allowing non-parents/guardians
to pick up youth.
- The program has a policy on release of youth to walk home. If programs allow youth to
walk home, it is based on an assessment of the safety of the walking route for that
particular location and time and the developmental level of the youth.
- Staff periodically assess security at the program, identify potential problems, and
address potential problems quickly.
- The program is prepared for emergencies
- The program has a "go kit," which contains essential information and items to take
quickly in case of an emergency evacuation. The kit should be portable and reachable
in case of evacuation. See the resources section for "go kit" check-list and
- The program has emergency information on file about both youth and staff. This
includes emergency contact information and information about necessary medications
or extreme allergic reactions. Staff check that emergency information is updated at
least two times a year. This file should be portable and reachable in case of
evacuation. The program follows a policy to keep emergency information about staff
and youth confidential.
- The program has an "emergency preparedness plan," developed in consultation with
the host agency, law enforcement, fire department, health professionals, and the
county Office of Emergency Management. This includes a plan for emergencies that
occurs during the arrival or departure portions of the program.
- Staff are trained in the emergency plan, and trainings are redone periodically. The
emergency plan has designated lead people, and these leaders review the plan
- The program communicates the emergency plan to parents.
- Staff and youth practice the emergency plan and conduct emergency drills.
- Transportation in vehicles is safe
- The program requires use of age-appropriate safety restraints.
- The program maintains documentation of vehicle inspection and drivers' driving
- If the program uses buses to transport youth, the administration considers the number
and ages of youth to decide whether to provide a bus monitor. This person's role
would include tracking youth and monitoring behavior and safety. For any
transportation arrangement with a driver who is not program staff, the program
provides a bus monitor.
- Staff take special precautions during activities requiring an increased attention to safety.
- Staff and youth use appropriate safety gear during these activities, and there is
proper instruction about how to use it.
- If these activities involve the use of any special materials or equipment, staff and
youth have proper instruction about their use.
- There is increased supervision during these activities.
- The program conducts a risk assessment of these activities to determine what
precautions are necessary.
- The program provides for the basic comforts of the youth
- The indoor temperature is within a safe and comfortable range.
- The indoor environment is well-ventilated.
- When outdoors, youth have access to shade.
- Youth always have access to drinking water, including when outside.
- Youth always have access to restrooms, including when outside.
- There is a supply of extra coats, gloves, and boots for winter, to the extent possible.
|Supervision of youth
|Obtaining information from
parents about the special
health conditions or other
special needs of youth
||Special Needs/The Whole
||NJ Licensing Section
|Indoor maintenance and sanitation
Outdoor maintenance and sanitation
requirements, including requirements
regarding playground equipment
|Equipment, materials, and furniture safety
|Environmental sanitation requirements,
including smoking prohibition
|Personal hygiene requirements, including
|Obtaining information from parents about the
special health conditions or other special
needs of youth
|Emergency procedure requirements and first
||10:122-5.2 (l), 10:122-5.2(o)
|Supervision and tracking of youth and
|Release of children