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Unmet Demand for After-School Programs Reaches 19.4 Million Children


Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on ensuring that all children have access to affordable, quality after-school programs, has released a new report about the state of after-school programs in the U.S.



According to the report, released October 16, more than 10 million children participate in after-school programs, up from 6.5 million in 2004. However, nearly 20 million children would participate in an after-school program if one were available. This unmet need was especially strong among African-American and Hispanic families, who cited safety issues and cost as the two biggest factors preventing them from signing children up for an after-school program in their communities.


The report, based on a survey of 30,000 U.S. parents, provides national and state-level insights on program participation and parents’ thoughts on the programs, including:


  • Parents with children in after-school programs see their program as a way to provide their kids with opportunities to be active, eat nutritious foods and drink healthy beverages.
  • Demand for these programs is especially high among low-income, African-American and Hispanic families -- who were also more likely to report that their community lacked after-school programs; 60 percent of African-American and 57 percent of Hispanic children would be enrolled in a program if it were available to them, compared to 35 percent of White children.
  • Low-income, African-American and Hispanic parents reported that cost and safety were major factors preventing them from enrolling children in after-school programs.

“Due to the fact that most students come from homes where both parents are working, we have a duty to provide safe havens for our children during the crucial hours from 3 to 6 pm,” said former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, founder of After-School All-Stars. “After-school is a wise investment but, unfortunately, we’re not investing nearly enough.”


To learn more, read the full report here.