Afterschool Policy

Policy is a key part of the afterschool conversation

While policy debates have been focused primarily on K-12 school day issues, some significant steps have been taken around afterschool. The Afterschool Alliance has been an active voice in the discussions. Our collective voice reminds politicians to prioritize afterschool as an essential piece in supporting safe communities, developing and engaging youth, growing local economies, and helping working families.

Key Recommendations


Increase funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative by $133 million for FY2017, bringing the total to $1.3 billion and allowing approximately 140,000 additional children to access quality afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs through school and community based providers in all 50 states.

  • Current funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative covers the costs associated with quality afterschool and summer learning programs for 1.6 million children. In the context of state and local budget shortfalls, and with more than 20 million parents who need afterschool programs for their children, additional support is needed.
  • Funding afterschool and summer learning programs is a cost-effective investment that has the multiple benefits of providing a lifeline to working families, keeping young people safe and secure and increasing student success. Funding 21st CCLC at the $1.3 billion level will help meet the demand for quality programs and to address rising expenses associated with hiring and retaining trained program staff.

Support opportunities for K-12 students to access afterschool Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programs by funding the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program (ESSA Title IV Part A) at $1.6 billion in the FY2017 spending bill.

  • The passage of ESSA last December resulted in the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant, a block grant that gives local school districts the flexibility to partner with community based organizations to provide a wide variety of important student supports including afterschool STEM.
  • Hands-on STEM education that is provided during afterschool and summer learning programs helps expose young people to potential STEM careers and encourages students to pursue STEM as part of their coursework.

Support increased access to afterschool meal and summer food programs through streamlining these programs in the Child Nutrition Act.

  • The bipartisan Summer Meals Act (S. 613/HR 1728) would help ensure all children in need have access to nutritious meals during afterschool programs and in the summer months. Members of Congress can show support by cosponsoring this bill.
  • The Child Nutrition Act may be reauthorized this year, representing an opportunity to streamline the out of school nutrition programs and increase the number of children served.

Continue to grow support in the Afterschool Caucus

  • More than 100 Members of the House and Senate are serving on the Afterschool Caucus. Membership of the Caucus signifies a commitment to afterschool, before-school and summer learning program opportunities for young people. 

Latest Issues:

Contact Congress about afterschool funding and opportunities. Follow the Appropriations process on the Policy Blog.

Policy News: The latest afterschool policy news from Washington, D.C.

Federal Policy: More background and information on afterschool in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA - formerly No Child Left Behind), 21st CCLC appropriations, and policy arenas with ties to afterschool such as obesity prevention, STEM, older youth and rural areas.

Federal Legislation: View current bills in Congress relating to afterschool programs.

State Policy: State-specific data and contacts plus tools for developing and advancing afterschool policy at the state level. 

Take Action: All you need to take action for afterschool, whether you have 2 minutes or a lifelong passion to promote afterschool.  

Congressional Caucuses: A list of the current members of the House and Senate Afterschool Caucuses. 

Making Afterschool an Election Issue: Election season presents an important opportunity to put afterschool on the radar of policy makers and the public in a visible and meaningful way.