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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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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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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This is Afterschool: Helping Kids Reach Their Full Potential (June 2019)

From birth through young adulthood, our brains are continuously developing: brain pathways grow stronger, information is processed more rapidly, and we build more complex connections that enable more complex thinking. Children and youth need continued support throughout this development. Reaching 10.2 million children and youth, afterschool and summer learning programs are a part of the continuum of supports that promote learning and foster healthy development.

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This is Afterschool: Building Workforce Skills and Inspiring Future Careers (June 2019)

Afterschool and summer learning programs provide students—from elementary to high school—with a ladder of supports that help them reach their full potential, offering a step up to discover who they are and what they love to do. From building foundational skills to opening students’ eyes to potential career pathways to providing opportunities to gain real work experience, afterschool programs are helping prepare young people for the jobs of tomorrow.

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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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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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Promoting Promising Futures (March 2020)

Afterschool programs 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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Promoting Civic Engagement Through Afterschool Programs (Nov 2018)

Civic engagement, which has been linked to positive short-term and long-term outcomes including a stronger connection to the community and improved wellbeing, starts with young people. This issue brief, created in partnership with the Center for Global Education at Asia Society, details the way in which afterschool and summer learning programs are promoting students’ civic dispositions, bringing lessons of democracy to life, and empowering youth to enact change. Accompanying this brief are five in-depth afterschool program profiles that highlight the different roles programs play to inspire youth to be knowledgeable, engaged, and civically minded individuals:

Youth Development

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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.

 

Surveys COVID-19

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