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Unmet Need for Afterschool Programs in Hispanic Community Is ‘Large and Growing’

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Participation in afterschool programs among Hispanic children and youth has increased significantly, from 15 percent in 2004 to 29 percent (or 3.8 million children) in 2014, according to a new household survey commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance. The 2014 edition of America After 3PM also finds that the unmet demand for afterschool is even higher: 57 percent of Hispanic students – 5.5 million children and youth – who are not already in programs would be enrolled if a program were available, their parents say. Hispanic parents strongly support afterschool programs and recognize tremendous benefits from participation.

The new survey spans 30,000 U.S. households and includes in-depth responses from 13,709 families, including 1,094 Hispanic families. It finds that 10.2 million U.S. children now participate in afterschool programs, up from 6.5 million in 2004. But the unmet demand for afterschool nationwide has increased to 19.4 million children. Demand is especially high among Hispanic, African American and low-income families.

“The country is nowhere close to meeting the demand for afterschool. In fact, the unmet demand for afterschool programs among Hispanic children is large and growing,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “It’s clear that Hispanic families value afterschool programs, because they keep children safe, inspire them to learn, help working families, and promote healthy habits. But our public policies are shortchanging millions of children of all races and ethnicities, leaving them without the programs they want and need. Federal funding for afterschool programs has been stalled for years. We need to increase federal support for quality afterschool programs.”

“Due to the fact that most students come from homes where both parents are working, we have a duty to provide safe havens for our children during the crucial hours from 3 to 6 pm,” said former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, founder of After-School All-Stars. “Afterschool programs do remarkable things for our children, families and communities. Reams of data show it, and I’ve seen it in my own work. These programs help kids with homework,  teach them teamwork, engage them in community service, pair them with mentors, help them to  be physically fit, involve them in activities like rocketry and robotics, and much more. Afterschool is a wise investment but, unfortunately, we’re not investing nearly enough. America After 3PMshows that we are meeting only about one-third of the demand for afterschool programs. We need federal, state and local governments, philanthropies and businesses to step up and provide the resources that will put us on the path to making afterschool available to all.”

Other key findings from the 2014 survey include:

  • Demand for afterschool is greatest among Hispanic, African American, and low-income families.Participation in afterschool and unmet demand for afterschool are much higher among children from low-income households than those from higher-income households, and higher among Hispanic and African American children than white children. The parents of 57 percent of the nation’s Hispanic children not currently participating in afterschool programs would enroll their child, if a program were available, as would the parents of 60 percent of African American children not currently enrolled. The same is true of 35 percent of white children.
  • Hispanic parents say that afterschool programs are an essential source of support for working parents—giving them peace of mind when at work and helping them to keep their jobs.
  •          More than 3 in 4 Hispanic parents (76 percent) agree that afterschool programs help provide working parents peace of mind about their children while at work. Agreement jumps even higher—to 87 percent—among Hispanic parents with a child in an afterschool program.
  •          Seventy-three percent of Hispanic parents agree that afterschool programs help working parents keep their jobs. Among Hispanic parents with a child in an afterschool program, 85 percent agree.
  •          Nearly 9 in 10 Hispanic parents (89 percent) say that they are satisfied with their afterschool program overall. In addition, Hispanic parents are satisfied with the safety of the afterschool environment (87 percent), and their afterschool program’s quality of care (90 percent).
  •          More than 3 in 4 Hispanic parents (78 percent) agree that afterschool programs provide children with opportunities to be physically active.
  •          Seventy-three percent of Hispanic parents agree that afterschool programs can help excite children about learning, and agree that programs help children gain workforce skills, such as teamwork, leadership and critical thinking (also 73 percent).
  •          Seven in 10 Hispanic parents agree that participating in an afterschool program can help improve children’s behavior in school, and 67 percent agree that programs can help improve children’s school day attendance.
  • Hispanic parents face specific barriers in finding an afterschool program for their children.Hispanic parents were more likely than white parents to agree that a lack of available afterschool programs was a barrier to enrolling their child. In addition, the lack of a safe way to get to, and get home from, afterschool programs, and the cost of programs were also top responses by parents identifying barriers.
  • Hispanic parents with a child in an afterschool program are highly satisfied with their program, both overall and with specific program features.
  • Hispanic parents—including parents with children in afterschool and children not in an afterschool program—recognize the multitude of benefits children gain from participating in an afterschool program.
  • Hispanic parents strongly support public funding of afterschool programs. Overall, 84 percent of parents report that they favor public funding for afterschool programs, but among Hispanic parents, 87 percent support public funding for afterschool programs.

America After 3PM details afterschool program participation rates by race, ethnicity, gender and income, describes the types of activities afterschool programs offer, examines barriers to participation, reports on parental views of program quality, and more. It provides in-depth information on children who are unsupervised after school, as well as those who would be enrolled if an afterschool program were available to them. In addition to the national data, America After 3PM offers state-level data as well as a snapshot of national participation and demand for summer learning programs.  Summer and state-by-state results are available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.

Findings from America After 3PM are based on in-depth interviews with 13,709 households with children, completed by way of an online survey using a blend of national consumer panels. Shugoll Research collected and analyzed the data for America After 3PM.  In order to participate, respondents had to live in the United States and be the guardians of a school-age child living in their household.  The online interview took approximately 15 minutes to complete. All interviews were completed between February 28 and April 17, 2014.

America After 3 PM is funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Noyce Foundation, with additional support from the Heinz Endowments, The Robert Bowne Foundation and the Samueli Foundation.

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