NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Money For Federal After-School Programs?

June 22, 2000

Vice President Al Gore wants to spend an extra $11 billion to fund after-school programs for "latch-key" children. But a new study from the Cato Institute contends such an initiative is not only unnecessary, but also there is no evidence after-school programs offer greater benefits to children than other activities.

  • Only 2 percent of children ages 5 through 12 are left unsupervised after school -- and those who are spend no more than six hours a week alone.
  • The average enrollment in existing after-school programs stands at just 59 percent of capacity.
  • The federal government already has over 100 grant and loan programs for underused after-school care -- administered through seven different federal departments or agencies.
  • Increased federal and state spending on after-school programs has lifted the proportion of schools with extended-day programs from 13 percent in 1988 to 63 percent by 1998.

The report argues that after-school programs have not been effective in reducing juvenile crime. In fact, schools are often breeding grounds for crime and drug use.

Source: Darcy Olsen, "12-Hour School Days? Why Government Should Leave Afterschool Arrangements to Parents," Policy Analysis No. 372, June 7, 2000, Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001, (202) 842-0200.


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