Professional growth and development is an important investment in strengthening and expanding the skills and abilities of program providers who work in afterschool settings. Research findings indicate that, as a result of having staff attend trainings, programs recognized improvements in their environments, discipline procedures and communication practices among staff and with youth. (Gore, J.S. & Anderson, Cl.L. (1996). Does school-age child care staff development make a difference? Results of an outcome evaluation.)
It is important to shed light not only on the connection between professional development and program quality, but on the link between professional development and youth outcomes. While a gap exists in research in the out-of-school time field on this link, there is evidence in related fields, such as early childhood programs, that suggest a connection between staff professional development and impact on youth outcomes. These studies show promise for the impact of afterschool professional development.