The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is the only federal funding source dedicated exclusively to afterschool programs. The No Child Left Behind Act reauthorized 21st CCLC in 2002, transferring the administration of the grants from the U.S. Department of Education to the state education agencies. Each state receives funds based on its share of Title I funding for low-income students. Grants support afterschool programs that provide the following services to students attending high-poverty, low-performing schools:
- Academic enrichment activities that can help students meet state and local achievement standards.
- A broad array of additional services designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program, such as: drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, and recreation programs, technology education programs, and character education programs.
- Literacy and related educational development services to the families of children who are served in the program. (U.S. Department of Education, 2003)
Conversations about the next reauthorization of 21st CCLC are underway. The Afterschool Alliance has developed a set of recommendations to help ensure continued effectiveness of the program and provide adequate support systems for local afterschool programs. (See Elementary and Secondary Education Act