The Afterschool Alliance
An evaluation of LA’s BEST – the largest after-school program in Los Angeles – finds that youth who were moderately or intensely engaged in the program between 1994 and 2003 were significantly less likely to have a juvenile record by 2005 than were students who did not participate at those levels. Nearly 88 percent of those not in LA’s BEST (Better Educated Students for Tomorrow) and those who had low engagement in the program had no criminal records as of 2005, but the figures were 91 percent among moderately engaged students and 93 percent among intensely engaged students.
According to researchers, the findings mean that engaged LA’s BEST students are 30 percent less likely to participate in criminal activities than their peers. In a related finding, cost-benefit analyses indicated an average savings of $2.50 in juvenile crime costs for each $1 invested in the program. The study was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice and conducted by UCLA’s National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing. Free. 10 pages. (202) 347-1002, http://www.lasbest.org/resourcecenter/LASBEST_DOJ_Study_Brief.pdf.