Why Parents Don’t Send Kids to After-School Programs

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America After 3PM: From Big Cities to Small Towns

Afterschool Alliance

Cost and lack of transportation continue to be among the top reasons that parents don’t send their children to after-school programs, says this national survey of parents and caregivers.

The latest annual survey by the Afterschool Alliance found that 15.1 million children, or 26 percent of the nation’s school-aged children, are left alone after school. The numbers are identical to those found in last year’s version of the survey.

The lowest percentage of after-school program participation is in rural areas (11 percent), compared with 13 percent and 18 percent participation rates in suburban and urban cities, respectively, the report says.

The report details barriers among parents who do not send their children to after-school programs. More than one-third cited lack of transportation as a key factor, and about half of those who are low-income cited cost as a factor. In addition, 57 percent of those in rural areas cited limited program options, while 17 percent of urban parents were concerned about safety and 35 percent lacked a convenient location.

The report, funded by JCPenney, was based on market research firm RTi’s survey in 2009 of nearly 30,000 parents and guardians across the country.

The Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy organization, cites the survey in calling for more funding for after-school initiatives.

Eight pages, free. www.afterschoolalliance.org/documents/AA3PM_Cities_Towns_10122010.pdf.