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Journal Issue: When School Is Out Volume 9 Number 2 Fall 1999

After-School Programs for Low-Income Children: Promise and Challenges
Robert Halpern

Summary

Children's out-of-school time, long a low-level source of public concern, has recently emerged as a major social issue. This, in turn, has heightened interest in the heterogeneous field of after-school programs. This article provides a profile of after-school programs for low-income children, focusing on supply and demand, program emphases, and program sponsors and support organizations. It also discusses the major challenges facing the field in the areas of facilities, staffing, and financing. Details and examples are drawn from the ongoing evaluation of a specific after-school program initiative called MOST (Making the Most of Out-of-School Time), which seeks to strengthen after-school programs in Boston, Chicago, and Seattle. Looking ahead, the article highlights the pros and cons of options for increasing coverage to reach more low-income children, strengthening programs, expanding funding, and articulating an appropriate role for after-school programs to fill in the lives of low-income children.