After-School Leaders Say Demand for Programming Has Grown

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After-school program leaders and supporters gathered at the U.S. Department of Education last month to plead their case for dramatically expanding the number of after-school programs throughout the country.

To lend a sense of urgency to its cause, the Afterschool Alliance released a new report called America After 3 PM that is billed as the “most in-depth study of how America’s children spend their afternoons.”

Among the “key findings” of the report: The number of children “unsupervised” after school has risen to 15.1 million – or 26 percent of all youth – since the Afterschool Alliance did its first report in 2004, when 14.3 million – or 25 percent of all youths – were unsupervised after school.

The majority of the unsupervised kids are high school students; 28 percent are middle schoolers, and 11 percent are elementary schoolchildren.

“The bottom line is that more children than ever need our after-school programs, and they don’t have one to go to today,” said Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance.