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Los Angeles After 3PM: 9 in 10 parents want more afterschool support

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Los Angeles After 3PM: 9 in 10 parents want more afterschool support

In Los Angeles, afterschool programs earn a 95 percent satisfaction rate from parents, and a whopping 90 percent of parents support more public investments in afterschool. But the unmet demand for programs in Los Angeles is soaring, as parents cite lack of programs, cost, and transportation as barriers to participation.  For every child in an afterschool program in Los Angeles, two more are waiting to get in. 

These are the findings from a look at the Los Angeles responses to America After 3PM 2020, our  survey of more than 30,000 American households. While data were collected pre-pandemic, a survey this fall showed that support and demand for programs remain strong. Further, America After 3PM reveals that parents see afterschool as providing the kinds of supports children need during this challenging time and beyond, as we look toward recovery. 

The Los Angeles results are in line with America After 3PM national data, which showed that parents see many benefits from afterschool programs for their children, and report that programs give working parents peace of mind, but that too many families are not able to participate in afterschool programs. The data point to a lack of affordable afterschool programs, especially for lower income families. 

Top takeaways from the Los Angeles data: 

  • Unmet demand is soaring. Although afterschool program participation is higher in Los Angeles compared to California, unmet demand for afterschool programs is also greater.  In all, 361,873 Los Angeles students are without the afterschool programs their parents say they need today. 

  • Los Angeles parents give high marks to afterschool programs, with 95 percent satisfied with their child’s program. Additionally, 83 percent of parents agree programs give working parents peace of mind. Parents agree that programs help children stay active, gain interest and skills in STEM, provide opportunities to interact with peers, and build life and social skills. 

  • Cost, transportation, and access are barriers to participation, and inequities persist. Three in five Los Angeles parents said that the lack of a safe way for their child to get to and come home from programs was a challenge.  

  • Support for afterschool programs is strong. Nine in 10 Los Angeles parents – 90 percent -- favor public funding for programs that provide afterschool opportunities to students in communities that have few opportunities for children and youth. Support crosses demographic and political divides, with 92 percent of parents who identify as Democratic, 85 percent of those who identify as Independent, and 97 percent of parents who identify as Republican in favor of public funding.

Strong support for afterschool programs is likely related to Los Angeles’ robust afterschool system, which has earned remarkable results. The largest provider is LA’s BEST, serving approximately 25,000 children ages 5 to 12 in close to 200 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) elementary schools. LA’s BEST provides a mix of enriching activities that span the gamut, from robotics to yoga. Between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., in addition to receiving a nutritious meal and homework help, elementary schoolers can take part in a wide variety of clubs and activities such as KidBot Club, Young Authors, Dance & Drill Team, digital photography, Mariachi Club, and a cooking and nutrition program, to name a few. LA’s BEST encourages students to be creative, explore their interests, and discover their passions while working with supportive staff. Evaluations have found that participating in LA’s BEST leads to lower dropout rates, and higher graduation rates. An alumnus of the program shared, “If it weren’t for LA’s BEST, I can’t imagine how I could have found my path. So many other kids from my neighborhood weren’t so lucky.”

During the pandemic, afterschool programs in Los Angeles and nationwide have pivoted to provide expanded support for children and families, from remote learning support to meals to engaging virtual programming and wellness supports. LA’s BEST, for example, collaborated with Beyond the Bell, the afterschool support system for LAUSD, to immediately open Grab and Go meal sites. Within a few months, they were providing 500,000 meals a day. Los Angeles’ After-School All-Stars (ASAS), which  provides engaging programming for middle school students from career exploration and  service to STEM exploration and sports,  pivoted to create #HappyAtHome to meet the immediate needs of students and families. The efforts include food assistance and virtual learning experiences. With 82 percent of ASAS families relying on the Federal Free and Reduced Meal Program, school closures have made it difficult for families to ensure that their students get the breakfasts, lunches, and snacks that they ordinarily get at school.  ASAS helps offset the cost of those meals, as well as the cost of dinners and weekend meals that families are struggling to provide.  

America After 3PM 2020 is made possible with support from the New York Life Foundation, Overdeck Family Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Altria Group, the Walton Family Foundation, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

To learn more

 

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