Afterschool Alliance Research

Informing providers, advocates, and policymakers for 20 years

Delve into our vast collection of research resources that show afterschool programs are keeping kids safe, inspiring learning, and helping working families across the country. 

An integral component of Afterschool Alliance’s mission to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs is research that assesses and examines the ways children spend their time during the afterschool hours, the opportunities afterschool programs provide the children and families in their communities, and the public support for these programs.

This section contains research materials the Afterschool Alliance has produced over the past 15 years. Find the resource that best fits your needs by searching by document type or by issue area. If you are interested in learning more about afterschool programs, explore Afterschool Essentials, or find out how many children are in afterschool programs by visiting the America After 3PM page. You can also search by issue topic and learn more about afterschool programs supporting young people in variety of areas and subjects, ranging from the arts to health and wellness to STEM. 

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How Afterschool is Supporting Learning and Recovery During COVID-19 (July 2020)

Individuals have found their lives upended by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and are facing unprecedented challenges in all corners of life. In response, communities have banded together to meet the immediate health, economic, and basic day-to-day needs of families. Joining local efforts, afterschool programs continue to be a source of support to the children and families in their community as they adapt to the challenging circumstances and stressors created by the pandemic. This issue brief, complemented by in-depth afterschool program profiles, explores the range of ways in which programs have responded to the needs of their community and placed the well-being and safety of children and families at the forefront of program efforts.

 

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Afterschool in the Time of COVID-19 – Wave 1 (July 2020)

In the first in a series of surveys that take the pulse of the afterschool field during the pandemic, it is clear that although afterschool programs remain a vital partner to help young people emerge from this crisis strong, resilient, and hopeful, they are in dire need of support. In a survey conducted by Edge Research on behalf of the Afterschool Alliance between May 28-June 30, 7 in 10 program providers report serving students in some capacity since the pandemic began, however, 84% of programs report that they are concerned that they will not be able to provide services in the fall.

 

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From Prevention to Diversion: The Role of Afterschool in the Juvenile Justice System (May 2020)

Involvement with the juvenile justice system can have devastating impacts for youth, their families, and their communities. Through a broad spectrum of services and supports, the afterschool field has leveraged the out of school hours to help keep young people out of the juvenile justice system. From building protective factors that promote resiliency to serving as diversion programs that function as alternatives to detention, afterschool programs can be an essential part of the work to support the young people at risk of becoming involved or currently involved with the juvenile justice system and help reframe and redirect their futures. In addition, in-depth afterschool program profiles that demonstrate these range of supportive roles that programs can play complement this issue brief:

Issue Briefs Service

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21st CCLC Facts and Figures (2020)

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is the only federal funding source dedicated exclusively to before-school, afterschool, and summer learning programs. This fact sheet provides an updated overview of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, highlights its outcomes and benefits, and addresses the current state of funding.

21st CCLC Federal Policy

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Promoting Promising Futures (March 2020)

Afterschool program are providing integral developmental supports—from caring and supportive mentors to safe spaces where students build confidence and feel a sense of belonging—that are helping kids reduce risky behaviors, build healthy relationships, and improve engagement in school. During a critical period of development, afterschool programs are a part of a continuous system of support for youth and their families.

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This is Afterschool Fact Sheet (March 2020)

After the school day ends, 1 in 5 kids across America are alone and unsupervised. These hours—from 2 to 6 p.m.—are the peak time for juvenile crime according to a 2019 report by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national organization of law enforcement leaders. Afterschool programs turn that time of risk into opportunity, keeping kids safe and helping them realize their full potential. Across the county, afterschool programs are inspiring learning, providing safety, promoting smart choices, and supporting working parents.

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Building Workforce Skills and Inspiring Future Careers (March 2020)

In a 2019 survey of employers, more than 80 percent encountered challenges recruiting qualified job candidates and among that group, 3 out of 4 reported a skills gap among applicants. This fact sheet describes the ways in which afterschool and summer learning programs are uniquely positioned to help address this major challenge and prepare young people for the jobs of tomorrow.

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21st Century Community Learning Centers: The evidence base (Feb 2020)

21st Century Community Learning Centers: The evidence base (Feb 2020) Over the course of more than 20 years, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative has expanded and evolved to offer elementary, middle, and high schoolers enriching learning activities outside of the school day in literacy, math, science, the arts, and music, as well as hands-on experiences to help develop workforce skills. This document provides a small sampling of current research that demonstrates participation in Community Learning Centers makes a positive difference in the lives of the young people they serve.

21st CCLC Evaluations

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Afterschool: Fostering Protective Factors that Can Last a Lifetime (September 2019)

New research tells us that the adolescent years are a highly important developmental period for brain growth and “the second most critical period of development.” However, there are factors at the individual and community levels that impact the development process. This includes both risk factors that increase the likelihood that one will take part in unhealthy behaviors, such as substance misuse, and protective factors that spur healthy behaviors and development. This issue brief, accompanied by in-depth afterschool program profiles, examines the way in which afterschool and summer learning programs promote protective factors to help young people to build up the skills and competencies they will need to navigate life’s challenges and become the country’s next generation of leaders, thinkers, and trailblazers.

 

Health and Wellness Issue Briefs

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Community STEM Collaborations that Support Children and Families

Youth are natural scientists at birth, discovering and exploring their world and trying to make sense of it. A child’s education is not limited to just the time they spend in the classroom. Children learn at home with their families, in public libraries, or through out-of-school-time experiences provided at community centers and in afterschool and summer learning programs, and even on vacations. In this paper, we endeavor to make the case that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) is an ideal subject area that can engage children with fun, active learning activities. It is also an important societal area around which parents, librarians, and OST providers can collaborate and complement the work of schools.

STEM

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