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DEC
21
2016

RESEARCH
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New report underscores the high cost of child care

By Nikki Yamashiro

Affordable and accessible high-quality child care is a critical issue for working families across the U.S. Although the benefits of quality child care for both children and their parents are numerous, many families struggle to afford and find child care that meets their needs. The 10th edition of Child Care Aware of America’s report, Parents and the High Cost of Child Care, reveals the ongoing challenges families have faced regarding child care over the past decade. The report also discusses the impact the high cost of child care has on the child care workforce, what some states are doing to better support the families in their community, and steps we can take as a country to make sure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care.

Below are a few highlights from the report:

Child care costs are high.

  • Examining the cost of child care in the U.S., the report found that the cost of center-based infant care was unaffordable for parents in all but one state. Although the cost of child care should not be more than 7 percent of a families’ median income (based on standards from the Department of Health and Human Services), in some states it was more than two times as high, accounting for 14 percent of a families’ median income. 
  • In 19 states, the annual average cost of center-based care for a four-year-old is higher than the cost of college tuition.
  • Another startling finding from the report is that in all 50 states, a child care worker who has two children would spend more than half of their income on child care if they wanted to enroll their children in center-based care.  In 14 states, this cost would be more than 100 percent of a child care worker’s income.

Certain communities are more heavily impacted.

  • The report found that child care deserts, or areas where families have either limited or no access to quality child care, are especially prevalent in, “low-income communities, rural communities, among families of color, and among families with irregular or nontraditional work schedules.”
  • Among low-income families, paying for child care is especially challenging, where the average cost of center-based care for an infant is between 17 and 43 percent of a families’ income.

Where do we go from here?

  • The report outlines a number of recommendations to help ease the cost burden of child care for families, including those in the child care workforce, such as increasing federal investments in child care funding through the Child Care and Development Block Grant, creating public-private partnerships that will invest in child care at the local level, and prioritizing professional development and a living wage for child care workers.

To learn more, visit Child Care Aware of America’s website where you can download a copy of the full report, as well as find out what the cost of child care looks like in your state through Child Care Aware of America’s new interactive map.

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learn more about: Working Families
NOV
2
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: November 2, 2016

By Luci Manning

Mentor Programs Steer Teens Away from Gangs (Associated Press, Oregon)

A community-wide coalition is aiming to keep youth from joining gangs through a variety of activities, including sports, art, spirituality and bicycle building. The Jackson County Gang Prevention Task Force includes law enforcement, educators, afterschool programs, nonprofit organizations and others who believe that stopping gang violence takes a whole community, not just the police, according to the Associated Press. “The only way to fight gangs is in the community and the police working together to beat this,” former gang member and Familia Unida volunteer Rico Gutierrez said. “The community has to be involved. Police can’t do it alone.”

Time to Jam: Kids Rock at After-School Program (Bland County Messenger, Virginia)

Students in a weekly afterschool program are learning to play fiddle, banjo, mountain dulcimer and other instruments traditional to Southern Appalachian music. Washington County JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) teaches 50 fourth- through eighth-grade students music skills and gives them a chance to explore and appreciate other aspects of Appalachian culture, such as clogging, square dancing, quilting and more. “We strive to expose the children to music and traditions of our area they may not pursue on their own,” coordinator Tammy Martin told the Bland County Messenger. The program is in its second year and has nearly twice the number of participants.

When Girls Teach Girls, They Unleash a New Power (Miami Herald, Florida)

In an effort to empower young girls from underserved communities, a host of nonprofits and community organizations are providing afterschool and mentoring opportunities at a number of Miami schools. A 13-year old Girl Scout is teaching younger girls how to code and assemble robots. The Embrace Girls Foundation is giving homework assistance and life-skills training at afterschool programs in three local schools, as well as a culinary program, tennis club and more. And the Honey Shine mentoring program provides mentoring and instruction in robotics, STEM, digital and financial literacy and more. “We teach the girls self-empowerment, character development, self-love and etiquette,” Honey Shine program manager Millie Delgado told the Miami Herald. “We empower young girls to shine as women.”

Grooming International Leaders While Helping Camden’s Kids (Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania)

For more than 25 years, UrbanPromise has worked to bolster leaders in international communities and build educational and youth development programs in America's cities and in foreign countries. The fellowship program brings community leaders from Uganda, Haiti and more to Camden schools and afterschool programs to help children break down prejudices. UrbanPromise also helps these fellows develop programs they can take back to their home countries to support youths there. “What we’re doing is supporting and resourcing young leaders to go home and make change,” UrbanPromise International School of Leadership Nadia VanderKuip told the Philadelphia Inquirer

OCT
25
2016

RESEARCH
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New report explores gap between school hours and work schedules

By Jen Rinehart

The misalignment between parents’ working hours and kids’ school hours is widely recognized by the afterschool community and working parents everywhere. Years of public polling have highlighted that this issue is top-of-mind with parents and voters. That’s why advocates often point to afterschool's role in helping working families when they make the case for afterschool and summer learning programs.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) recently highlighted this issue in Workin’ 9 to 5: How School Schedules Make Life Harder for Working ParentsIn Workin’ 9 to 5, CAP points out that most schools close 2 hours or more before the typical workday ends, and the largest school districts shut their doors for an average of 29 days per school year—excluding summer break. Couple that with the fact that many working families do not have paid leave, and it’s easy to see why CAP is elevating this issue. 

Fortunately, according to the report, nearly half of all public elementary schools attempt to address the gap between school and work schedules by providing before and afterschool programs. But CAP also points out that low-income schools are actually less likely to offer afterschool programs than other schools, and when programs are offered, there is often a cost to families. More recent data from America After 3PM indicate that lower-income youth actually participate in afterschool at higher rates, and that participation has been on the rise over the last decade. But those data also reveal that high levels of unmet demand and cost is a more frequently cited barrier to participation among low-income families. 

Workin’ 9 to 5 goes on to make recommendations at the national, state and local level for how to better meet the needs of kids and families.

Key recommendations from the report

  • Host a White House conference on supporting working families.
  • Use the flexibility in Title I to better support working families.
  • Increase appropriations for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, Promise Neighborhoods, AmeriCorps and the Full-Service Community Schools Program.
  • Leverage community resources and partner with community-based entities to provide programming.
  • Redefine how professional development is delivered to reduce the number of days when kids have off school for teacher professional development.
OCT
21
2016

LIGHTS ON
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6 reasons why Lights On Afterschool 2016 was the brightest yet!

By Erin Murphy

Exactly 8,200 events held across the USA and the world make this year's Lights On Afterschool the biggest and brightest since the rally first began 17 years ago! One million people joined together to shine a light on the accomplishments of afterschool programs and to say 'thank you' for all the benefits they provide to communities and working families.

Here are 6 things that made Lights On Afterschool 2016 truly shine:

1. We kicked off Lights On Afterschool with Learn Fresh, NBA Math Hoops, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings on a big national stage—a game between the Warriors and Kings at the SAP Center in San Jose, CA!

2. The U.S. Senate issued a bipartisan proclamation in support of Lights On Afterschool.

3. The Empire State Building glowed yellow on the evening of Lights On Afterschool, October 20.

4. 44 states issued official Lights On Afterschool proclamations to honor afterschool programs.

5. Exactly 8,200 Lights On events were held around the world!

6. 641 people signed the petition to ask for greater investments in afterschool.

Did you host a Lights On Afterschool event this year? If so, we want to hear from you! Send us your photos and any highlights to loa@afterschoolalliance.org.

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learn more about: Advocacy Events Working Families
OCT
13
2016

RESEARCH
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Poll: In public education, Americans want more than academics

By Erin Murphy

Image by Holger Selover-Stephan

Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) recently released the results of their 48th Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. This report, Why school? Americans speak out on education goals, standards, priorities and fundingidentifies what Americans believe should be the primary goals of public education and what standards, priorities and funding should exist to support these goals.

The findings of the report suggest there is not a consensus on what the primary goal of public education should be. Only 45 percent of adult Americans believe that the main goal of education should be preparing students academically. Meanwhile, alternate views of public education are gaining popularity: 25 percent of Americans believe the goal of public education should be to prepare students for work, and 26 percent believe the goal should be to prepare students for citizenship. Additionally, respondents felt that the development of good work habits was a more important goal for schools than providing factual information.

This shift in the public attitude regarding the role of public education—toward success beyond academics—is reflected by the public’s preference for offering more career-technical or skills-based classes (68 percent) instead of more honors or advanced academic classes (21 percent). Afterschool has a long history of focusing on youth success beyond academics, reflecting and responding to Americans’ expanding desires for public education. Besides providing academic support—such as tutoring, homework help, and academic enrichment—programs are supporting students’ passions, introducing students to careers, and developing their 21st century skills. Because of this, afterschool is great a partner for the public school system in supporting education, growth and student success more broadly

SEP
28
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 28, 2016

By Luci Manning

Stax Music Academy Wows D.C. Crowd (USA Today)

A dozen high school students from the afterschool Stax Music Academy performed a Memphis-inspired show this weekend at the grand opening of the Smithsonian’s new Museum of African American History and Culture. The young musicians said they understood the historical importance of performing for the new museum. “Not only am I representing myself, I’m representing my family, my neighborhood,” 17-year-old singer Brenae Johnson told USA Today. “All of us are knowledgeable of this event and how big it really is.” The festival featured bands playing jazz, R&B, gospel and hip-hop to celebrate African-American musical traditions and their role in the nation’s struggle for justice.

Building Skills, a Block at a Time (Roanoke Times, Virginia)

Ten-year-old Oakley King has always loved playing with Legos, so when he heard his school needed more sets before it could start a new afterschool Lego club, he stepped up to the challenge. Using donations from friends, classmates and their families, he was able to buy $600 worth of Legos for the club. According to East Salem Elementary School principal Diane Rose, the club will help students develop math, problem-solving, small-motor and social skills in a creative, playful environment. “It’s so important for kids to play and to share with each other and to come together with ideas,” she told the Roanoke Times. “We want to get back to giving them these opportunities not only in the classroom but after school, too.”

How a Philly Cop Broke the School-to-Prison Pipeline (Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania)

More than 1,000 juvenile arrests in have been averted since 2014 thanks to the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program. The initiative puts first-time, low-level offenders, many of whom would have been arrested under the former zero-tolerance policy, in a 90-day afterschool program that covers topics like social and emotional competency, drug and alcohol education and anger management. “It’s an opportunity for children and families to see policing in a different way, to see the Department of Human Services in a different way, to see the whole process in a different way,” deputy commissioner and program founder Kevin Bethel told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Each teen in the program also has a case manager who performs home visits.

Indian Hill Senior Makes Selecting School Clubs Easier (Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio)

Two high school seniors have found a way to make the diverse array of afterschool options at their school less overwhelming for incoming students. The teens developed a website, Club Academy, which suggests afterschool clubs for students based on their interests and shows them how to start their own club if the one they want is not yet offered. “We got a lot of emails saying it’s been helpful and made the transition process easier,” one of the teens, Mrinal Singh, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. The site has now grown beyond Cincinnati to schools in Michigan, Connecticut and Texas. 

SEP
26
2016

POLICY
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Presidential candidates talk child care

By Erik Peterson

Images by Gage Skidmore and Lorie Shaull.

With less than 50 days left until the election for president, both candidates have now released proposals to address child care issues for America’s families. The proposals largely focus on child care for children from birth to age 8; however, there are some elements of the plans that would support parents with children in afterschool programs or who seek to access afterschool programs for their children.

Trump's child care plan

Earlier this month, Republican nominee Donald Trump released his child care proposal focusing primarily on tax credits and a mandatory minimum of six weeks of paid maternity leave for employers. The Trump plan proposes to change the tax code for working parents, allowing an income tax deduction for care of up to four children for households earning up to $500,000 and individuals earning up to $250,000. The plan offers a rebate of up to $1,200 per year for low-income families. The proposed six weeks of paid maternity leave would be financed through unemployment insurance reforms aimed at reducing fraud and abuse.

With regard to afterschool care, the Trump plan would create new Dependent Care Savings Accounts (DCSAs) for families to set aside extra money to foster their children's development and offset elder care for their parents or adult dependents. The new accounts would be universally available, and allow both tax-deductible contributions and tax-free appreciation year-to-year, unlike current law Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), which are available only if offered by an employer and do not allow balances to accumulate. The plan specifies that when established for children under 18 years old, funds from a DCSA can be applied to traditional child care, but also afterschool enrichment programs and school tuition. The proposal aims to assist lower-income parents by ensuring the government matches half of the first $1,000 deposited per year.

Clinton's child care plan

The Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, released her child care plan during the primaries last year. Clinton’s plan includes 12 weeks of paid family leave for both parents and would be paid for by tax increases on the wealthy. Her plan would also cap child care costs at 10 percent of a family’s income, and would rely on either tax cuts or block grants to help subsidize costs that exceed the cap. Additionally, the Democratic party platform included language on increased public investment in childcare, support for community schools, increased investment in afterschool, summer learning and mentoring programs, as well as funding for STEM (especially for computer science), including in the afterschool space.

For more information on the election and afterschool, visit our Campaign for Afterschool Toolkit.

SEP
26
2016

RESEARCH
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Updated interactive dashboard with data on high-poverty communities

By Nikki Yamashiro

Following the release of our latest America After 3PM report, Afterschool in Communities of Concentrated Poverty, which looks at the role of afterschool programs in areas where there is a high concentration of families living below the poverty line, our interactive web dashboard has been updated to feature data on the state of afterschool in these high poverty areas. On the communities of concentrated poverty dashboard page, you can find out what parents in these high poverty areas are looking for in their child’s afterschool program, how long children participate in afterschool programs, and how satisfied parents are with the activities in their child’s afterschool program. The dashboard also includes data on the barriers parents living in communities of concentrated poverty face enrolling their child in an afterschool program.

The primary goal of this dashboard is to create an easy way to navigate through the large amount of data collected through the America After 3PM survey. In addition to finding afterschool-related information on specific populations, such as communities of concentrated poverty and rural communities, you can see what afterschool looks like in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as learn about key subject areas, including STEM and health and wellness.

This latest update is the fifth in a series of updates we have made to the dashboard to make sure that it is able to provide you with as comprehensive a look at afterschool as possible. Take some time to explore all that the dashboard has to offer!