Kids with nowhere to go, end up… going nowhere.
- In America today, millions of young people are alone and unsupervised in the hours after school before parents return home from work. This situation places children and teens at grave risk for juvenile crime, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and other problems.
It means students are wasting precious time when they could be learning. And it leaves millions of working parents worried about their children when they should be focused on their jobs. This unproductive, untenable and unacceptable situation would be remedied if our nation invested more fully in the after school and summer programs that keep kids safe, support working families and help young people succeed in school and in life.
- The after school hours and summers are the peak time for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex. (Source: Bureau, Urban Institute Estimate, 2000; Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2002)
- The parents of more than 28 million school-age children work outside the home. As many as 15 million "latchkey children" go to an empty house on any given afternoon. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor; U.S. Census Bureau, Urban Institute estimate, 2000)
- Teens who do not participate in after school programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes or use marijuana or other drugs; they are also more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and engage in sexual activity. (YMCA of the USA, March 2001)
- Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a bipartisan anti-crime organization led by police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, victims of violence and leaders of police officer associations, has found through a series of studies that violent juvenile crime is most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., and that youth are more likely to engage in risky behaviors — smoking, drinking or doing drugs — during these hours. Unsupervised youth are also most likely to get in car accidents during these hours. These facts are not lost on voters. Clearly their opinions related to the supervision and safety of youth are affected by what they see during the after school hours in their own communities.
- As many as 15 million kids have no place to go after school. (Source: U.S.Census)
- More than 28 million kids have parents who work outside the home. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor)
- Parents themselves admit to regularly leaving more than four million middle school kids under the age of 13 to care for themselves for a few hours each week. (Source: Child Trends)
- The hours between 3-6 p.m. on school days (referred to by law enforcement officials as a "danger zone") are the prime time for violent juvenile crime; this is also the time period during which kids are most likely to become victims of violent crime, be involved in all kinds of accidents, experiment with drugs or alcohol and become pregnant.
- Working mothers report that 3-6 p.m. is the time of day when they most worry about their children's safety.
- A disconnected community is in jeopardy of becoming an unsafe community. Criminologist Robert J. Sampson asserts, "communities characterized by (a) anonymity and sparse acquaintanceship networks among residents, (b) unsupervised teenage peer groups and attenuated control of public space and (c) a weak organizational base and low social participation in local activities face an increased risk of crime and violence."
- Within the past three decades the number of overweight children between the ages of 6 and 12 has doubled. Only two percent of children within this age group meet the recommended minimum number of daily servings from all five food groups. The number of overweight teens (12-19 years old) has tripled in the past 30 years. As a result of being overweight, these children and youth are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, elevated blood pressure and low self esteem.
- Rates of participation in physical activity have declined in the past 30 years for both children and youth. Baker reported that between the ages of 6 and 18 boys decrease participation in physical activities by 24% while girls decrease participation by 36% between these same ages.
- Opportunities for recess and physical education are disappearing from urban schools, and fewer than one in three teens get an adequate amount of regular physical activity.
- Juvenile crime rates for females have been steadily rising. On a national level, delinquency cases involving girls increased by 83% between 1988 and 1997.
- The Children Defense Fund reported that an American child or teen is killed by gunfire every two hours and 40 minutes; that results in nine America children dying from gunfire every day.
- 3.3 million children between the ages of 6 and 12 regularly spend time without adult supervision. Ten percent of all children between the ages of 6 and 12 use self-care as the primary child care arrangement.
- Lack of adult supervision and participation in self-care for both children and adolescents have been linked to: increased likelihood of accidents, injuries, lower social competence, lower GPAs, lower achievement test scores and greater likelihood of participation in delinquent or other high risk activities, such as experimentation with alcohol, tobacco, drugs and sex. Teens who are unsupervised during after school hours are 37% more likely to become teen parents.
- About one third of 8th graders, one fourth of 10th graders and one-fifth of 12th graders watched four or more hours of television on weekdays in 2000. Researchers have associated watching TV to an increased likelihood that children and teens will display physically aggressive behaviors, exhibit relational aggression behaviors (behaviors that harm others through damage or threat of damage to relationships) and assume the worst in their interaction with others.
- Young people with nothing to do during out-of-school hours miss valuable chance for growth and development. The odds are high that kids with nothing positive to do and nowhere to go will find things to do that negatively influence their development and futures.
someplace to go,
end up…going places!"
- After school programs keep kids safe, help working families and inspire success among youth.
- "Americans value after school programs and recognize the many benefits they provide. The public recognizes that after school programs reduce juvenile crime, help working families and give kids needed help with their schoolwork. Federal, state and local lawmakers can learn a lot about what matters to their constituents by looking at this research." — Mayor John De Stefano, President of the National League of Cities and Mayor of New Haven, Connecticut
- After school programs have the power to reduce crime, increase safety, bring neighbors together and foster community pride and ownership.
- After school programs are proven to lower juvenile crime rates and generally improve neighborhoods and not just by keeping youth occupied for a few hours everyday. After school programs help young people succeed by providing academic support and the chance to form meaningful relationships with adults from their community, and by encouraging them to get involved in their neighborhood through service projects. This support, these relationships and the benefits to the community create a mutually beneficial relationship of immeasurable value.
- After the implementation of the city-wide San Diego 6 to 6 program, the San Diego Police Department's 2001 report indicated that…juvenile arrests during after school hours were down 13.1%. The police chief specifically cited the 6 to 6 program as one of the primary factors responsible for this decrease. Additionally the rates of juveniles as victims of violent crime during after school hours decreased 11.7% from the previous year. - Ferrin & Amick, 2002
- Evaluations of the first two years of The After-School Corporation (TASC) programming found that students felt that participating in after school improved their ability to maintain self-control and avoid fights. - Friedman & Bleiberg, 2002
- "In communities where at least 50 percent of the kids are participating in after-school programs, that community is five times more likely to be a healthy community because they are putting resources behind
- "Young people need the influence of caring adults and positive role models in their lives. Good after-school programs can accomplish that by helping youngsters develop the knowledge, skills and healthy habits to achiever their greatest potential." - US Secretary of Education Rod Paige and After school Advocate Arnold Schwarzenegger at the 2003 After school Summit hosted by the US Department of Education and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Students in a statewide program in California improved their standardized test scores (SAT-9) in both reading and math by percentages almost twice that of other students and also had better school attendance. (University of California Irvine, May 2001)
- Children in afterschool programs were half as likely to drop out of high school, and two and one half times more likely to pursue higher education, than students not selected to participate. (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids 2000)
- Kids who participate in after-school programs earn higher grades, have improved attendance, behave better in school and are more apt to graduate
- After-school programs keep kids safe
- Kids in after-school program show an increased interest in school
- Kids in after-school and summer programs express greater hope for the future.
- After-school programs reduce juvenile crime. (Source: America's After-School Choice a report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids)
- 94 percent of voters agree that there should be some type of organized activity or place for children and youth to go after school every day that provides opportunities for them to learn. (Source: After-School Alliance Poll, October 2003)
- The average cost of a quality after-school program is between $1500 and $2500 per child annually.
- Experts agree that investing money in after-school programs saves lives and tax dollars over time - one study conclude every dollar spent on an after-school program produced three dollars in benefits to the public.
- There is growing evidence that quality out of school opportunities matter- that they complement environments created by schools and families and provide important nutrients that deter failure and promote success - and that they matter in ways that are observable and measurable.
- After school programs can offer intangibles such as - the opportunity to engage in activities that help young people realize they have something to contribute to the group; the opportunity to work with diverse peers and adults to create projects, performances, and presentations that receive accolades from their families and the larger community; and the opportunity to develop a vision of life's possibilities that with commitment and persistence, are attainable.
- Drug activity decreased 22%, juvenile arrests dropped 135 and vandalism in the public housing developments decreased 12.5%. At the same time, parental involvement increased compared to public housing development not selected to implement the after school programs.
- Links have been found consistently between teen's well-being and environments that are emotionally positive and warm and that provide support for developing adolescent autonomy. Some research suggests that positive experiences in one are (for example, in the family, among peers, at school, through community service…) may lessen the effect of negative experiences in other areas. Adolescents who spend time in communities that are rich in developmental opportunities for them experience less risk and show evidence of higher rates of positive development.