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Making Children a National Political Priority
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After-School Programs

Millions of children and youth who are in unsupervised situations at the end of each school day would benefit from participation in quality after-school programs, where learning continues in a safe, supervised environment.

  • 4.2 million school-age children ages 5 to 14 years are home alone while their mothers are at work. That’s 14 percent of school-age children with working mothers.
  • More than 15 million youth (26%) are responsible for taking care of themselves in the hours after school.
  • On school days, the hours from 3-6 PM are peak hours for:
    • kids to smoke, drink, do drugs, and engage in sex,
    • innocent kids to become crime victims,
    • 16- and 17-year-olds to be in a car crash,
    • teens to commit crimes.
  • Communities and families want to participate in after-school programs but need additional support.  Another 15.3 million children would participate in after-school programs if they had access to quality programs. Families need access not only to quality programs, but also to affordable programs.
  • The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is the only source of federal funds available for school districts to develop and provide quality after-school learning opportunities. Funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program remained stagnant for several years, while costs of after-school care and the number of eligible students increased.
  • Due to static funding, 21st Century Community Learning Centers have been able to fill less than 25 percent of community grant requests. Fully funding this program would cost $2.5 billion annually.
  • The average cost of a quality after-school program is between $1,500 and $2,500 per child annually.
  • Over three-quarters of Americans (76 percent) agree that members of Congress and state and local elected officials should increase funding for after school programs.

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