District of Columbia parents see the value in afterschool programs, and overwhelmingly support public dollars going toward these activities that help their kids continue to learn and grow after the traditional school day ends. A new report from the Afterschool Alliance confirms this, finding that nearly 90% of District parents are in favor of public funding for afterschool programs.
That’s just one of the findings included in the new Washington DC After 3 PM fact sheet, which reflects opinions and experiences with afterschool programs taken from a sample of District parents and children. Note that surveys were completed between January 27 and March 17, 2020, and may not reflect parents’ and children’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Afterschool activities are a key part of the out-of-school-time (OST) landscape in the District. The time that children and youth spend outside of school participating in enrichment activities helps prepare them for success, access emotional and social support, and build and maintain community.
Some other key findings from the report:
Afterschool programs are a lifeline for working families in the District.
- 84% of parents with a child in a program agree that the program helps them keep their job or work more hours
- 90% of parents overall agree that programs provide working parents peace of mind
District parents report high levels of satisfaction with their child’s afterschool program.
- 95% report overall satisfaction
- 88% report that programs provide a safe environment
- 86% agree that programs provide children and youth opportunities to learn life skills
But parents report difficulty finding the right afterschool program for their child.
- 70% of parents report it is difficult to find an appropriate option, underscoring the need for more, and more accessible, afterschool programming in the District.
Parents who did not enroll their child in a program reported some common challenges.
- 71% report having no safe way for child to get to and from programs
- 63% report that programs are too expensive
- 56% report that hours of operation do not meet their needs
- 59% report a lack of available programs
Parents clearly value the programs that serve their children after school, and while OST programs currently serve tens of thousands of District youth, more young people would benefit if programs were more readily available. To learn more, or get involved, please visit DCActionforChildren.org/OST.