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Congress set to reauthorize afterschool and summer meal programs

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Congress set to reauthorize afterschool and summer meal programs

Update, July 24, 2019: Reach out to Congress and urge their support of the Summer Meals Act via Rally Congress.

As afterschool program educators and advocates, we know that a hungry child struggles to learn. According to data from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), more than 13 million American children live in “food insecure” homes, where parents struggle to provide food for their families. To help children access nutritious meals throughout the year, there are several federal programs that can help, including the Summer Food Service Program and Afterschool Meals Program. Unfortunately, too many low-income children who are eligible for these programs are not accessing them.

Afterschool and summer learning advocates have an opportunity this year to help increase access to these important child nutrition programs as well as improve operations for the programs. After failing to pass a child nutrition reauthorization bill last session, Congress has restarted the process of reauthorizing the federal child nutrition programs this year. Child nutrition reauthorization offers an opportunity for afterschool advocates to provide input to help improve the programs and increase access for more students.

Based on feedback from local programs, state-level networks and agencies, and national youth-serving organizations, the Afterschool Alliance is advocating for the following priorities aimed at increasing access to nutritious meals for children most at risk for hunger:

  • Adjust the area eligibility test (for family childcare, afterschool and summer nutrition) to match the 21st Century Community Learning Centers level. Federal nutrition programs offer reimbursement for snacks and meals for all children in a family child care, afterschool or summer program in a low-income area, defined as an area with more than 50 percent of children eligible for free or reduced price school meals. Lowering the threshold back to 40 percent (as it is in the 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative), would better serve children, ease the administrative burdens of programs seeking funding streams with incompatible area eligibility tests, and increase the number of children who have access to summer and afterschool meals.
  • Streamlining the child nutrition programs to enable schools, local government agencies, and non-profits to feed children 365 days a year through allowing flexibility to do CACFP Afterschool Meals year-round or Summer Meals year round, for all types of providers.
  • Address barriers to providing nutritious meals after school and during the summer in rural, underserved locations. Transportation can be a major barrier to students’ access to meals in rural communities. Providing funding support through a grant program to get children to a Summer Food Service Program that offers high quality educational and enrichment activities is a vital way to support access in underserved areas.
  • Ensure children in need are provided with ample number of meals. Many children participate in evening enrichment programs during the school year and summer months when their parents are working. Program should have the option of serving two meals and a snack or three meals that children can continue learning throughout the day.
  • Increase access to the At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program. The At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program is currently only available through the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP), which has proved a barrier to many school nutrition programs wishing to provide afterschool meals. Allowing At-Risk Afterschool Meals to be served as an option under the National School Lunch Program (as is currently done with Afterschool Snacks) will ease administrative burden on programs and increase the number of low-income children who have access to nutritious afterschool meals.
  • Increase the summer meal reimbursement per meal per student for programs offering enhanced enrichment, learning opportunities, mentoring, or student transportation.

Make your voice heard on these important issues! Contact your members of Congress today and ask them to support increase access to high-quality afterschool and summer meal programs.

Federal appropriations update: Are we headed for a shutdown?

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/15/23

New Perkins Innovation and Modernization Grant Opportunity Makes Space for Afterschool Partnerships

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BY: Mazzi Ingram      08/22/23

Child care proposed rule seeking comments on making CCDF more affordable and accessible

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BY: Jillian Luchner      07/28/23

Senate Afterschool Caucus briefing highlights the impact of afterschool and summer programs

On Wednesday, July 12, the Senate Afterschool Caucus, in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance and the National Summer Learning Association, held a briefing on how the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program is making a positive difference for youth, families, and...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/18/23

House Appropriators mark-up FY 2024 Education spending bill

This week, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee pushed the FY 2024 appropriations process forward by holding multiple subcommittee mark-ups. On Friday, July 14, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS-ED) and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee marked up its...

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UPDATE: June 2, 2023: Late on the night of June 1, the U.S. Senate passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act by a vote of 63-36, about 24 hours after the House passed the bill with a bipartisan vote of 314-117. The President is expected to sign the bill into law today. On May 31, the House passed the...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/01/23

Your feedback needed on 21st Century Community Learning Center draft non-regulatory guidance

UPDATE: The deadline has been extended from June 16th to July 7th. The U.S. Department of Education is accepting feedback through June 16, 2023, on Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Draft Non-Regulatory Guidance PDF. This represents the first time in 20 years that...

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Trio of newly introduced bills align with recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month

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Federal appropriations update: Are we headed for a shutdown?

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/15/23

Summer is ending! What is the status of appropriations for STEM education on Capitol Hill?

As is the case each August, Congress has left Washington D.C., for several weeks. The month’s slower pace gives STEM, education and afterschool advocates an opportunity to digest what happened in the frantic days before the recess and assess what remains to be done in 2023. The annual...

BY: Anita Krishnamurthi      08/28/23

Back to school means back to D.C. for Congress. What’s ahead in September?

The slower pace of August in Washington, D.C., is nearing its end. The imminent return of the U.S. Congress to Capitol Hill and the people’s business suggests the need for revisiting what lawmakers did before the August recess and what faces them in September. As students and teachers go back...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/25/23

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/31/23

Senate Afterschool Caucus briefing highlights the impact of afterschool and summer programs

On Wednesday, July 12, the Senate Afterschool Caucus, in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance and the National Summer Learning Association, held a briefing on how the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program is making a positive difference for youth, families, and...

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House Appropriators mark-up FY 2024 Education spending bill

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Senate HELP hearing on mental health

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BY: Mazzi Ingram      06/20/23

Congress passes deal to raise debt limit and constrain spending

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Secretary Cardona makes the case for robust education spending at House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing

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BY: Erik Peterson      04/21/23

Office of Child Care inquiring what should be included in State Child Care Development Fund plans

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BY: Jillian Luchner      08/08/23

Empowering youth voices: Reflecting on the 2023 Youth Policy Forum

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BY: Guest Blogger      08/07/23

2023 state budgets bring new investments in afterschool programs

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BY: Chris Neitzey      07/11/23

Mental health and wellness a popular topic in state legislatures in 2023

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BY: Chris Neitzey      05/11/23

State legislatures looking to increase investments in afterschool

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BY: Chris Neitzey      03/24/23

Governors for afterschool – 2023 edition

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BY: Chris Neitzey      03/07/23

Statewide afterschool networks continue to advance STEM as a policy priority at the state level

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BY: Chris Neitzey      02/14/23

D.C. Mayor Bowser pledges to build robust afterschool programs in inaugural address

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BY: Chris Neitzey      01/06/23

State elections bring new faces to governors mansions

After a full week of counting ballots, the picture at the state level has become clear. A handful of Governor’s races resulted in Democratic gains, with Arizona, Maryland, and Massachusetts all electing Democrats. Incumbent Governors were reelected in 27 out of 28 races, with only Democrat...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/18/22

ARP investments in comprehensive afterschool: Connecticut case-study

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BY: Guest Blogger      08/05/22

Federal appropriations update: Are we headed for a shutdown?

Congress is back in session after its annual August recess, and at the top of their to-do list is addressing spending for the fiscal year that begins October 1. As we touched on last month, lawmakers are staring down a fast-approaching deadline for action on FY 2024 spending. It is clear that...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/15/23

Summer is ending! What is the status of appropriations for STEM education on Capitol Hill?

As is the case each August, Congress has left Washington D.C., for several weeks. The month’s slower pace gives STEM, education and afterschool advocates an opportunity to digest what happened in the frantic days before the recess and assess what remains to be done in 2023. The annual...

BY: Anita Krishnamurthi      08/28/23

Back to school means back to D.C. for Congress. What’s ahead in September?

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BY: Erik Peterson      08/25/23

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/31/23

House Appropriators mark-up FY 2024 Education spending bill

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/14/23

Congress passes deal to raise debt limit and constrain spending

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BY: Erik Peterson      06/01/23

Making the case for increasing 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding

On March 23, Alabama Expanded Learning Alliance Co-director Felicia Simpson testified at a hearing of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS-E) Appropriations Subcommittee in support of increased funding for Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/27/23

FY 2024 budget proposal is disappointing for 21st CCLC, but includes other afterschool related increases

Today the Biden administration released its FY 2024 discretionary budget request, formally kicking of the FY2024 appropriations process, while debate around raising the debt ceiling continues. With regard to afterschool and summer learning support, the proposal requests $1,329,673 for the Nita M....

BY: Erik Peterson      03/09/23

March madness = Budget & appropriations process kickoff!

This year, early March means the release of the president’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year and the beginning of the FY 2024 appropriations process in Congress. Here's what we know so far about how this year’s process may roll out in the coming year.  On or...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/01/23

Mammoth spending bill includes support for afterschool, summer, mentoring, and more

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BY: Erik Peterson      01/23/23

Summer is ending! What is the status of appropriations for STEM education on Capitol Hill?

As is the case each August, Congress has left Washington D.C., for several weeks. The month’s slower pace gives STEM, education and afterschool advocates an opportunity to digest what happened in the frantic days before the recess and assess what remains to be done in 2023. The annual...

BY: Anita Krishnamurthi      08/28/23

Back to school means back to D.C. for Congress. What’s ahead in September?

The slower pace of August in Washington, D.C., is nearing its end. The imminent return of the U.S. Congress to Capitol Hill and the people’s business suggests the need for revisiting what lawmakers did before the August recess and what faces them in September. As students and teachers go back...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/25/23

Senate appropriators propose level funding for 21st CCLC in FY 2024

The Senate Appropriations Committee released and marked up their Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) bill on July 27, 2023. The bill proposes $224.4 billion in total funding for Fiscal Year 2024. The Nita M Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center Initiative...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/31/23

House Appropriators mark-up FY 2024 Education spending bill

This week, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee pushed the FY 2024 appropriations process forward by holding multiple subcommittee mark-ups. On Friday, July 14, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS-ED) and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee marked up its...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/14/23

Congress passes deal to raise debt limit and constrain spending

UPDATE: June 2, 2023: Late on the night of June 1, the U.S. Senate passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act by a vote of 63-36, about 24 hours after the House passed the bill with a bipartisan vote of 314-117. The President is expected to sign the bill into law today. On May 31, the House passed the...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/01/23

March madness = Budget & appropriations process kickoff!

This year, early March means the release of the president’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year and the beginning of the FY 2024 appropriations process in Congress. Here's what we know so far about how this year’s process may roll out in the coming year.  On or...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/01/23

STEM education update: Good news and looking ahead

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BY: Anita Krishnamurthi      02/23/23

Mammoth spending bill includes support for afterschool, summer, mentoring, and more

In December, the 117th Congress approved a $1.7 trillion bill that included a $40 million increase for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative and additional increases across the US Department of Education important to afterschool programs, public schools,...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/23/23

Opportunity: CCDF supplemental funds available for school-age programs

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BY: Jillian Luchner      10/25/22

ARP investments in comprehensive afterschool: Kentucky case-study

By Mahika Gupta and Alexa Kamen, the Afterschool Alliance’s inaugural Summer Policy Interns. Mahika is entering her Senior year at Colby College in Maine, working on degrees in English Creative Writing and Astrophysics and participating as a staff writer for her college paper. Alexa...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/18/22

Federal appropriations update: Are we headed for a shutdown?

Congress is back in session after its annual August recess, and at the top of their to-do list is addressing spending for the fiscal year that begins October 1. As we touched on last month, lawmakers are staring down a fast-approaching deadline for action on FY 2024 spending. It is clear that...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/15/23

Summer is ending! What is the status of appropriations for STEM education on Capitol Hill?

As is the case each August, Congress has left Washington D.C., for several weeks. The month’s slower pace gives STEM, education and afterschool advocates an opportunity to digest what happened in the frantic days before the recess and assess what remains to be done in 2023. The annual...

BY: Anita Krishnamurthi      08/28/23

Senate appropriators propose level funding for 21st CCLC in FY 2024

The Senate Appropriations Committee released and marked up their Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) bill on July 27, 2023. The bill proposes $224.4 billion in total funding for Fiscal Year 2024. The Nita M Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center Initiative...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/31/23

ED extends time for comments on 21st CCLC Draft Non-Regulatory Guidance

Afterschool providers and allies now have until July 7 to comment on the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) Draft Non-Regulatory Guidance. We are grateful to the Department of Education for recognizing the significance of this updated guidance and providing additional time for feedback....

BY: Jillian Luchner      06/22/23

Congress passes deal to raise debt limit and constrain spending

UPDATE: June 2, 2023: Late on the night of June 1, the U.S. Senate passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act by a vote of 63-36, about 24 hours after the House passed the bill with a bipartisan vote of 314-117. The President is expected to sign the bill into law today. On May 31, the House passed the...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/01/23

Your feedback needed on 21st Century Community Learning Center draft non-regulatory guidance

UPDATE: The deadline has been extended from June 16th to July 7th. The U.S. Department of Education is accepting feedback through June 16, 2023, on Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Draft Non-Regulatory Guidance PDF. This represents the first time in 20 years that...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/22/23

Making the case for increasing 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding

On March 23, Alabama Expanded Learning Alliance Co-director Felicia Simpson testified at a hearing of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS-E) Appropriations Subcommittee in support of increased funding for Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/27/23

Mammoth spending bill includes support for afterschool, summer, mentoring, and more

In December, the 117th Congress approved a $1.7 trillion bill that included a $40 million increase for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative and additional increases across the US Department of Education important to afterschool programs, public schools,...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/23/23

Previewing the 118th Congress: What does it mean for afterschool?

With 2022 in the rearview mirror, we can also say farewell to the 117th Congress. The new Congress marks a return to ‘divided government’ with the White House and Senate being led by Democrats and the House of Representatives under the control of the Republican Party. What might the...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/09/23

$50M in 21st CCLC funds from Bipartisan Safer Communities Act sent to states

This summer, a group of 20 Democratic and Republican Senators, led by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), worked to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which included gun safety measures, mental health support investments, and school safety provisions that aim to...

BY: Erik Peterson      11/03/22

Beyond relief – New tools to help sustain the impactful pandemic investments in afterschool and summer

Children’s Funding Project, in collaboration with Grantmakers for Education and our team at the Afterschool Alliance released an important new tool for the field, “Funding Out-Of-School Time Programs – Now and in the Future.” Recognizing that COVID-19 education and child...

BY: Jillian Luchner      09/29/23

Senate Afterschool Caucus briefing highlights the impact of afterschool and summer programs

On Wednesday, July 12, the Senate Afterschool Caucus, in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance and the National Summer Learning Association, held a briefing on how the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program is making a positive difference for youth, families, and...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/18/23

$50M in 21st CCLC funds from Bipartisan Safer Communities Act sent to states

This summer, a group of 20 Democratic and Republican Senators, led by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), worked to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which included gun safety measures, mental health support investments, and school safety provisions that aim to...

BY: Erik Peterson      11/03/22

Learning about summer learning

Summer enrichment funding for every state was required in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). The State of Summer Learning Grants: An Analysis of States’ Use of ARP Summer Enrichment published in July by the organization Education...

BY: Jillian Luchner      09/19/22

ARP investments in comprehensive afterschool: Kentucky case-study

By Mahika Gupta and Alexa Kamen, the Afterschool Alliance’s inaugural Summer Policy Interns. Mahika is entering her Senior year at Colby College in Maine, working on degrees in English Creative Writing and Astrophysics and participating as a staff writer for her college paper. Alexa...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/18/22

ARP investments in comprehensive afterschool: Connecticut case-study

By Mahika Gupta and Alexa Kamen, the Afterschool Alliance’s inaugural Summer Policy Interns. Mahika is entering her Senior year at Colby College in Maine, working on degrees in English Creative Writing and Astrophysics and participating as a staff writer for her college paper. Alexa...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/05/22

Roundup of afterschool in State Budgets Part 2

With state legislative sessions wrapping up and state budgets now finalized, we bring you our second installment of the roundup of afterschool funding in state budgets. As highlighted in the previous post from June, this year brought a number of new investments in afterschool at the state level....

BY: Chris Neitzey      07/21/22

For some, a summer of enrichment thanks to ARP dollars

This summer, thanks to pandemic relief funding, some students are experiencing a summer full of exploration, connections with friends and mentors, and learning that is engaging and exciting. After the last couple years, it can be a game changer for youth who have faced isolation, loss, and...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/27/22

Jodi Grant testifies at House hearing in support of afterschool programs

This morning, Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant testified at a hearing of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS-E) Appropriations Subcommittee in favor of increased funding for Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/26/22

American Rescue Plan funds one year later: Support for afterschool, summer learning

A little more than one year ago, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law, providing billions in funding to support communities and youth impacted by the pandemic, and naming afterschool and summer learning programs as one strategy to invest in to support young people. So...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/15/22