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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21st CCLC Facts and Figures (April 2021)

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. In addition to information regarding how 21st CCLC programs have responded to the needs of their communities during the pandemic, this fact sheet provides an updated overview of the 21st CCLC program, highlights its outcomes and benefits, and addresses the current state of funding.

21st CCLC

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The Evidence Base for Afterschool and Summer (April 2021)

This research brief synthesizes findings from nearly two dozen evaluations of afterschool and summer programs that demonstrate the evidence of the positive impact programs have on academics, social and emotional skills and competencies, and overall well-being to help students re-engage in learning and emerge from the pandemic strong, resilient, and hopeful.

Evaluations

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The academic and social and emotional benefits of participation in 21st Century Community Learning Centers (March 2021)

This short brief includes findings from state evaluations of 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs—locally designed school and community afterschool, before-school, and summer learning programs—that demonstrate the academic and social and emotional benefits that programs provide to support the whole child.

21st CCLC Federal Policy

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Two Decades of 21st Century Community Learning Centers: Providing afterschool and summer opportunities to millions of young people and families (February 2021)

The 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) initiative supports local afterschool, before-school, and summer learning programs serving students attending high-poverty, low-performing schools. Since the start of the initiative in 1994, 21st CCLC programs have grown and evolved—funding, demand, and the number of students served has increased, as well as what programs offer. Today, programs support whole-child development by providing a safe and supervised space for youth to take part in various enrichment activities ranging from service learning to physical fitness and health, explore their interests, build key life skills, and connect with positive adult mentors. This issue brief explores the history of the initiative and the program’s evolution over its 25 years, while highlighting the importance of 21st CCLC programs and the breadth of work that they do.

21st CCLC Federal Policy

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Back to School in the Time of COVID-19 – Wave 3 (November 2020)

Eight months into COVID-19, three key trends are shaping the landscape of afterschool programs across the nation. First, many more afterschool programs are operating now than were in the spring and summer. Second, programs are able to serve only about half as many students as they supported before the pandemic. Third, the children being left behind are disproportionately those from low-income families. These findings are documented in the brief, Back to School in the Time of COVID-19, based on the third in a series of surveys of afterschool program providers to monitor the state of the afterschool field. The Wave 3 provider survey of 1,445 program providers, was conducted between September 28 and October 27, and represents more than 7,300 program sites.

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Preparing for Back to School and Navigating Summer in the Time of COVID-19 – Wave 2 (September 2020)

After six months in a COVID-19 world, with the continued uncertainty of when things will return to normal, this brief, Preparing for Back to School and Navigating Summer in the Time of COVID-19, combines findings from a survey of parents along with the second in a series of surveys of afterschool and summer providers to monitor the state of the afterschool field. The Wave 2 provider survey of 1,047 afterschool and summer program providers, conducted between July 20 and August 31, finds that providers are growing increasingly worried about their program’s long-term sustainability, but despite these struggles, programs continue to provide supports to the children and families in their communities, with strong majorities of parents believing in the value of afterschool and summer programs, as well as supporting public funding for these opportunities.

 

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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 (March 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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