The need of afterschool programs far outweighs the supply, for every community in America.
Unfortunately, adequate care is something not always available in every community. Today, only one-fourth of American families fit the “traditional” image of one parent at home caring for children full time, while the other parent provides financial support. In fact, 75 percent of mothers with school-age children are employed. In all, there are more than 30 million children in a household where both parents are in the workforce.
Additionally, the impact of a lack of adequate care is much broader in scope, not only affecting the children and parents who are in need of afterschool resources. Research has found that parents miss an average of five days of work per year due to a lack of afterschool care, and that decreased worker productivity related to parent’s concerns about their child’s afterschool care costs businesses up to $300 billion per year.
With parents reporting spending close to an average of 9 hours during the weekdays working, the gap between work and school schedules amounts to as much as 25 hours per week. This presents working parents with the challenge of finding someone to care for their children while they are at work. Nationwide, more than 3 million children in grades K-8 regularly care for themselves, and 20 percent of all children go home alone after school each day.
Further, child care can be prohibitively expensive for many working families. According to ChildCare Aware of America's The U.S. and the High Price of Child Care report, center-based child care for a single child can cost 11 percent of a married couples' total income—or a shocking 36 percent of total household income for single-parent families. The average annual cost of care for school-aged children can total more than $11,000.
The realities of today’s working world make afterschool programs an absolute necessity. More than 8 in 10 parents with a child in an afterschool program agree that afterschool programs help give working parents peace of mind about their children when they are at work (85 percent) and that afterschool programs help working parents keep their jobs (84 percent).