Coauthored with Laurie Lennon

It’s 3 p.m. on a weekday and, like millions of moms and dads across America, you’re still at work. Where do your kids go when school lets out?

AA3-social_graphic-FullRight now, 10.2 million kids across America attend an afterschool program. Another 19.4 million are waiting for an available afterschool program. And more than 11 million kids have no adult supervision from 3 to 6 p.m.

The demand for afterschool programs is greater than it ever has been. Why?

More than two-thirds of American families rely on two incomes. For the moms and dads who are still at work when the school bell rings, the afterschool hours can present a real challenge. We want our kids to be safe. We want to give them opportunities to explore new things, help them discover and develop their talents. We know they need time for play and time to burn off energy after sitting in class. We also want them to finish their homework and be prepared for the next day. Afterschool programs can provide all of this and more.

What can be done to meet the growing demand for quality afterschool programs? A lot.

  • States can pass legislation to help fund afterschool programs. Every dollar invested in afterschool programs saves $9 by: reducing crime and welfare costs, improving kids’ performance at school, and increasing kids’ earning potential.
  • Businesses need to show their support for afterschool programs. Many of their employees rely on afterschool programs so they can be at work.
  • Congress can protect funding for afterschool programs in the 21st Century Learning Center Fund as they reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
  • Parents can advocate for quality afterschool programs and let policymakers know how important they are.

We have EIGHT children between us. We work full days. We want our children to be safe and happy, just like millions of parents across America. That’s why we care so much about ensuring that there are afterschool programs for all.