New Survey of Parents Finds Historic Unmet Demand for Afterschool Programs, Latino and Black Students Most Likely to be Shut Out, and High Levels of Satisfaction with the Programs Children Attend
WASHINGTON, DC – There are 24.7 million U.S. children not in an afterschool program who would be enrolled if a program were available to them, according to a survey of 1,500 parents conducted in May and June of this year. That is up from 24.5 million in early 2020, just before the pandemic began, and the highest number ever recorded. Unmet demand for afterschool programs is significantly higher among Latino and Black children (at 60% and 54% respectively) than among children overall (49%). Unmet demand has been growing as the cost of running programs has far outstripped resources.
According to Access to Afterschool Programs Remains a Challenge for Many Families, cost remains the top barrier to enroll, cited by 57% of parents as a reason for not enrolling their child. A lack of a safe way to get their child to and from the program (52%), inconvenient program locations (51%), and program hours not meeting parents’ needs (49%) are the next most commonly cited barriers.
The online survey, conducted by Edge Research for the Afterschool Alliance, finds that 90% of parents rate the quality of the program their child attends as excellent (51%) or very good (39%). Another 10% rate it as good. An overwhelming majority (91%) say the afterschool program is helping their child build social skills – something many parents prioritize following the social isolation the pandemic caused.
“This new survey underscores the importance of the U.S. Department of Education’s new initiative, Engage Every Student, which is a bold, unprecedented call to utilize American Rescue Plan funds, as well as other state and local monies, to ensure that every child can get access to a high-quality afterschool program,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “We are far from that now and as the new school year begins and more parents return to in-person work, staffing shortages are exacerbating the problem. Not enough afterschool programs have been able to access federal COVID relief funds and that needs to change. Now more than ever, our kids need the afterschool and summer learning programs that keep them safe, inspire them to learn, and provide working parents with peace of mind. Funding these programs should be a priority for leaders at the local, state and federal levels. We need to give the next generation every opportunity to succeed.”
Other findings from the new survey of parents:
The online survey of 1,489 U.S. adults who are the parent or guardian of a school-age child was conducted by Edge Research from May 12 to June 28, 2022. Results are weighted by race and income to be representative of the population. The margin of error is +/-3%.
The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.