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Afterschool in the time of COVID-19: Barriers to afterschool and summer participation

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Afterschool in the time of COVID-19: Barriers to afterschool and summer participation

Unmet demand for afterschool and summer learning programs and other barriers to access are impacting parents and families across the country, though some families are facing more barriers than others. Inequities exist, with unmet demand and barriers to participation being greater among communities of color and families with low incomes.

In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at barriers that families face when accessing afterschool and summer programs through our new survey of almost 1,500 parents, caregivers, or guardians of school-aged children across the country, administered by Edge Research from May 12 to June 28, 2022.

  • Children of color are more likely to be balancing other obligations after school:
     
    • Among parents without a child in an afterschool program, approximately 4 in 10 Black parents (39 percent) and more than 1 in 3 Hispanic/Latinx parents (34 percent) shared that an important factor in their decision not to enroll their child in a program is that their child has other commitments like caring for younger siblings or working after school hours, as opposed to 27 percent of White parents.
       
  • Low-income families reported concerns around the availability and cost of programs:
     
    • Almost 4 in 10 parents in the lowest income bracket without a child in an afterschool program (39 percent) shared that afterschool programs being too expensive was an extremely important reason why they didn’t enroll their child in a program as opposed to 29 percent of parents in the highest income percentile. This trend continued for summer learning, with more than half (54 percent) of parents in the lowest income bracket sharing they were concerned about expenses when asked about summer programming, as opposed to 28 percent of parents in the highest income bracket. Additionally, one-third of parents (33 percent) in the lowest income bracket shared they were concerned about not knowing what summer programs were available for their children as opposed to 7 percent of parents at the highest income bracket.
       
  • COVID-19 has impacted families, especially moms:
     
    • More than half of parents surveyed with children in afterschool programs (56 percent) shared that “the economic conditions created by the pandemic made it difficult for me to currently afford placing my children in an afterschool program.”
       
    • These challenges have been amplified even more for mothers during the pandemic, whether they are working or not. According to Pew Research, moms of children ages 5 to 12 have spent more time on secondary care, defined as “supervising their children while doing other things, such as working, doing chores or watching television” which increased by over two hours in 2020, to an average of over eight hours a day, and slightly dipped to an average of over seven hours a day in 2021. Afterschool Alliance’s survey found that working moms with a child in an afterschool program were more likely to agree that their child’s program allows them to keep their job or work more hours, compared to parents overall (91 percent vs. 86 percent). Unfortunately, our team found that among working moms without a child in an afterschool program, 46 percent shared an important reason they did not enroll their child in an afterschool program is that the hours of operation do not meet their needs.
       
    • Learn more about challenges for moms and working parents in the previous blog in this series.
       
  • Waiting lists varies by region:
     
    • We found that only 5 percent of parents in the Midwest with a child in an afterschool program had to put them on a waiting list, while 31 percent in the West, 24 percent in the Northeast, and 21 percent in the South had to wait.

These barriers are coupled with growing recognition of the benefits of afterschool. Parents, caregivers, and guardians nationwide recognize the value of afterschool, with more than 8 in 10 parents (83 percent)  agreeing that afterschool allows working parents to keep their jobs and keep kids safe and out of trouble (82 percent). Yet, our findings show that lack of access to high-quality afterschool programs and other barriers prevent all children across the country from being a part of afterschool. A recent charge from the Department of Education could change that, with Secretary Cardona and partners launching the Engage Every Student Initiative, which is a call to action to give every student who wants to participate access to a high-quality out-of-school time program.

This is the third in our series taking a closer look at our parent survey results, read more about differences in results for working parents or rural, suburban, and urban communities. And access all of our COVID-19 parent and provider survey work. Stay tuned for the next blog in the series on health and wellness.

Afterschool in the Time of COVID-19: A look at rural, suburban, and urban communities

Last month, the brief, “Access to Afterschool Programs Remains a Challenge for Many Families,” reported out on national survey results from nearly 1,500 parents or guardians of school-age children, finding that in the U.S., while afterschool programs are delivering on keeping children...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/13/22

New survey shows that afterschool programs are still in high demand

Back-to-school season is in full swing and intermixed with the uplifting news stories on students’ return to the classroom are stories of the challenges taking place after the school day ends, from families waitlisted for afterschool programs to program providers struggling to find staff to...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/30/22

Staffing and student well-being remain top concerns for afterschool program providers in new survey

“Community awareness of the need for out-of-school time (OST) care and support has increased dramatically.  However, without more directed funding efforts, hiring and retaining staff at a livable salary remains difficult, and is veering toward impossible,” one provider shared in a...

BY: Sophie Kidd      08/01/22

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How COVID Relief Funding is a Lifeline for Afterschool and Summer Programs During the Pandemic

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      03/23/22

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      02/24/22

Staffing takes top spot as primary challenge for afterschool program providers in new survey

“COVID-19 has put stress on an already stressed programming system. I feel like this has put a spotlight on the need for our programs and the staffing issue” one survey respondent reports in Afterschool Alliance’s most recent survey of afterschool program providers. Another says,...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      01/27/22

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/23/21

Afterschool in the Time of COVID-19: A look at rural, suburban, and urban communities

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/13/22

New survey shows that afterschool programs are still in high demand

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/30/22

NCES data release shows increased opportunities for summer learning and more mental health supports

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10 minutes of your time can help us continue to tell the story of afterschool

A recent Associated Press story highlighted the staffing challenges afterschool programs are grappling with. A Youth Today article last fall described the how the demand for summer programs was outpacing programs’ resources. Thanks to afterschool and summer program providers’ responses...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      03/23/22

A look at the afterschool field through the pandemic

Thanks to the time and help of afterschool and summer program staff, the Afterschool Alliance has been able to track the ways in which the afterschool field’s operating status, policies, procedures, staffing, and services have been affected by the pandemic. Each wave has confirmed the...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      02/24/22

Staffing takes top spot as primary challenge for afterschool program providers in new survey

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      01/27/22

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As Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month wraps up, the Afterschool Alliance is shining a light on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) children in afterschool programs and the experiences of AANHPI parents as it relates to afterschool. Our America After 3PM...

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BY: Guest Blogger      09/27/21

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Afterschool in the Time of COVID-19: A look at rural, suburban, and urban communities

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/13/22

New survey shows that afterschool programs are still in high demand

Back-to-school season is in full swing and intermixed with the uplifting news stories on students’ return to the classroom are stories of the challenges taking place after the school day ends, from families waitlisted for afterschool programs to program providers struggling to find staff to...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/30/22

Staffing and student well-being remain top concerns for afterschool program providers in new survey

“Community awareness of the need for out-of-school time (OST) care and support has increased dramatically.  However, without more directed funding efforts, hiring and retaining staff at a livable salary remains difficult, and is veering toward impossible,” one provider shared in a...

BY: Sophie Kidd      08/01/22

How COVID Relief Funding is a Lifeline for Afterschool and Summer Programs During the Pandemic

A blog post earlier this year outlining the opportunities for afterschool and summer learning programs through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds asked the $500 billion dollar question, “…have funds been invested in such programs? What are they accomplishing?” The new brief,...

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As summer is very much top of mind for many of us as temperatures rise and the unofficial start of summer now in the rearview mirror, a new Afterschool Alliance survey finds that program providers are gearing up for a busy summer. Throughout the pandemic, the Afterschool Alliance has been tracking...

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10 minutes of your time can help us continue to tell the story of afterschool

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      03/23/22

A look at the afterschool field through the pandemic

Thanks to the time and help of afterschool and summer program staff, the Afterschool Alliance has been able to track the ways in which the afterschool field’s operating status, policies, procedures, staffing, and services have been affected by the pandemic. Each wave has confirmed the...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      02/24/22

Staffing takes top spot as primary challenge for afterschool program providers in new survey

“COVID-19 has put stress on an already stressed programming system. I feel like this has put a spotlight on the need for our programs and the staffing issue” one survey respondent reports in Afterschool Alliance’s most recent survey of afterschool program providers. Another says,...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      01/27/22

NCES data release shows increased opportunities for summer learning and more mental health supports

In early August, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a part of the Institute of Education Services, the research branch of the Department of Education, released findings from its June 2022 School Pulse Panel (SPP) study. The study’s goal is to collect data on the impact the...

BY: Sophie Kidd      08/25/22

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BY: Sophie Kidd      07/22/22

How four cities expanded summer learning

Summer learning programs provide enrichment opportunities for youth, allowing them to increase math and reading comprehension skills, connecting them with mentors and peers, providing nutritious meals and helping them gain workforce experience. Unfortunately, more work needs to be done to ensure...

BY: Tierra Easter      12/13/21

Making learning outside of school count

What do learning math concepts through boatbuilding, shadowing a teacher to see classroom management practices in action, and building software skills studying video game and mobile app development all have in common? Although wildly diverse, these examples showcase the broad range of...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/23/21

Out-of-school time programs helping children find their passion, purpose, and voice

The mental, emotional, and physical well-being of children has been top of mind throughout the pandemic—for parents, for educators, and for youth development professionals. In a prescient research endeavor, conducted by Edge Research and with the support of The Wallace Foundation, Learning...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/04/21

Afterschool and summer programs may hold the key to post-pandemic recovery for young people

By Neil Naftzger, principal researcher, and Jessica Newman, senior researcher at the American Institutes for Research. Fall is here, with it, a return for many to in-person learning after more than a year of disruption and uncertainty. Over the past six months, the current administration has...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/27/21

Latest highlights from Impacts Database point to summer learning's efficacy

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More than half of superintendents say summer learning/enrichment programs will decrease or end after ARP funding runs out, according to new survey

This summer, The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) released the third part of their series “School District Spending of American Rescue Plan Funding” which surveys district leaders on how they’re using ARP funds to respond to the pandemic and learning...

BY: Sophie Kidd      10/11/22

NCES data release shows increased opportunities for summer learning and more mental health supports

In early August, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a part of the Institute of Education Services, the research branch of the Department of Education, released findings from its June 2022 School Pulse Panel (SPP) study. The study’s goal is to collect data on the impact the...

BY: Sophie Kidd      08/25/22

Staffing and student well-being remain top concerns for afterschool program providers in new survey

“Community awareness of the need for out-of-school time (OST) care and support has increased dramatically.  However, without more directed funding efforts, hiring and retaining staff at a livable salary remains difficult, and is veering toward impossible,” one provider shared in a...

BY: Sophie Kidd      08/01/22

New examples of COVID relief funding for afterschool from National League of Cities

In the next phase of our COVID work and to celebrate the launch of the Engage Every Student Initiative, we have collaborated with the National League of Cities (NLC) on the next iteration of our map that shows where COVID funds are supporting afterschool & summer programs across the country....

BY: Sophie Kidd      07/22/22

How COVID Relief Funding is a Lifeline for Afterschool and Summer Programs During the Pandemic

A blog post earlier this year outlining the opportunities for afterschool and summer learning programs through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds asked the $500 billion dollar question, “…have funds been invested in such programs? What are they accomplishing?” The new brief,...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      07/07/22

Meeting the moment: Cities increase investments in young people to support pandemic recovery and beyond

By Bela Shah Spooner, Program Director, Education and Expanded Learning, National League of Cities Over the last two decades, the National League of Cities (NLC) has cultivated, as well as monitored, the growing support among local elected officials for youth-serving programs and their...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/25/22

A look at the afterschool field through the pandemic

Thanks to the time and help of afterschool and summer program staff, the Afterschool Alliance has been able to track the ways in which the afterschool field’s operating status, policies, procedures, staffing, and services have been affected by the pandemic. Each wave has confirmed the...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      02/24/22

Staffing takes top spot as primary challenge for afterschool program providers in new survey

“COVID-19 has put stress on an already stressed programming system. I feel like this has put a spotlight on the need for our programs and the staffing issue” one survey respondent reports in Afterschool Alliance’s most recent survey of afterschool program providers. Another says,...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      01/27/22

Public support for quality programs for children and youth remains a top priority for American families and businesses

While Congress continues to work on its appropriations and reconciliation packages, Americans continue to voice their strong support for programs that help them work while providing enriching experiences for their children. In addition to our America After 3 PM Survey, which has consistently...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/02/21

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