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.
- Researchers estimate that every dollar invested in after school programs saves $2.50 in crime-related costs.
- Participants in after school programs are much more likely to go on to high-quality high schools compared to non-participants (65 percent vs. 26 percent). Those who attend often are also more likely to be promoted to tenth grade on time (92 percent vs. 81 percent). Earning promotion to tenth grade on time is a key predictor of high school graduation. (Policy Studies Associates, December 2006)
- A complement of early education and participation in after school programs can reduce initiating drug use among youth by nearly 50 percent (45.8) while reducing the likelihood of them skipping school by half.