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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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.

Surveys COVID-19

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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