For a variety of social and economic reasons, after-school programs are greatly needed for school-age children. Approximately 28 million children have parents who work outside the home, and most children return to an empty home after school. Studies indicate that parents find the need for these programs outweighs the current supply. Furthermore, parents support after-school programs in order to provide fun and enriching learning opportunities and activities that are typically viewed as more valuable than watching television or playing computer games.
After-school programs help children in several ways. First, they can keep children safe and out of trouble in a structured environment. Second, they can improve academic performance. Third, after-school programs can raise children's social skills and self-confidence. The goals of most after-school programs generally include: reducing the numbers of latchkey children, providing homework and school support, providing cultural enrichment, providing physical recreation, teaching self-care skills, and broadening community support and ties to the schools.
Chung, A. After-School Programs: Keeping Children Safe and Smart. Partnership for Family Involvement in Education, 2000.
Popwell, E. P. The After-School Program for School-Age Children. A Descriptive Report, vol. 13, no. 25, 1991.