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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Afterschool: Fostering Protective Factors that Can Last a Lifetime (September 2019)

New research tells us that the adolescent years are a highly important developmental period for brain growth and “the second most critical period of development.” However, there are factors at the individual and community levels that impact the development process. This includes both risk factors that increase the likelihood that one will take part in unhealthy behaviors, such as substance misuse, and protective factors that spur healthy behaviors and development. This issue brief, accompanied by in-depth afterschool program profiles, examines the way in which afterschool and summer learning programs promote protective factors to help young people to build up the skills and competencies they will need to navigate life’s challenges and become the country’s next generation of leaders, thinkers, and trailblazers.


Health and Wellness Issue Briefs


Career & Technical Education: Preparing young people for the jobs of tomorrow

Afterschool programs are critical partners for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and help young people develop skills that employers need.


This is Afterschool STEM (2019)

Jobs in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields power our economy and build shared prosperity among our society. Investing in afterschool and summer STEM learning programs will help students explore their interests, build skills, connect with mentors, and prepare for jobs in growing fields like health care, information technology, and cybersecurity.


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.



This is Afterschool Fact Sheet (2019)

Support for afterschool is overwhelming and demand is growing. Nationwide, 9 in 10 adults say afterschool programs are important to their community—and more than 19 million kids are waiting to get in. This fact sheet outlines the ways in which quality afterschool programs are benefiting kids, families, and communities across America.


This is Afterschool: Building Workforce Skills and Inspiring Future Careers (June 2019)

Afterschool and summer learning programs provide students—from elementary to high school—with a ladder of supports that help them reach their full potential, offering a step up to discover who they are and what they love to do. From building foundational skills to opening students’ eyes to potential career pathways to providing opportunities to gain real work experience, afterschool programs are helping prepare young people for the jobs of tomorrow.


This is Afterschool: Helping Kids Reach Their Full Potential (June 2019)

From birth through young adulthood, our brains are continuously developing: brain pathways grow stronger, information is processed more rapidly, and we build more complex connections that enable more complex thinking. Children and youth need continued support throughout this development. Reaching 10.2 million children and youth, afterschool and summer learning programs are a part of the continuum of supports that promote learning and foster healthy development.


21st CCLC Facts and Figures (2019)

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is the only federal funding source dedicated exclusively to before-school, afterschool, and summer learning programs. This fact sheet provides an updated overview of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, highlights its outcomes and benefits, and addresses the current state of funding.

21st CCLC


Afterschool Supports Service Opportunities from Youth to Young Adulthood (April 2019)

All individuals, regardless of age, can benefit from service opportunities. For youth, service-learning projects promote strong community ties and positive development outcomes, while experiential service programs promote similar personal and professional gains for young adults. This issue brief details the way in which afterschool and summer learning programs are expanding access and availability of service opportunities for youth and young adults alike. Accompanying this brief are six in-depth afterschool program profiles that highlight the different roles programs play in the healthy development of both the next generation and our democracy:


Issue Briefs Service Vista Youth Development


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