Saturday, December 10, 2011

After School Care Makes Sense!!

Did you know that statistics show that most juvenile crime occurs in the hours immediately following school dismissal? (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention 1999). The rate of juvenile violence in the afterschool period is four times the rate than any other period of time. Why, then, have county subsidy agencies decided to abruptly to discontinue paying for low income children to attend afterschool care when a child turns 11 years old? That is, for most children, 6th grade! Families, most often single mothers, will most likely be forced to have these very young children home alone, fending for themselves, or be cared for by an older sibling. This is not how I feel is the best possible way for our government agencies to take care of the children in our community. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention study suggests that the potential for reducing a community’s juvenile violent crime rate is greatest in our efforts to reduce juvenile crime after school. Several studies have also shown that afterschool programs can decrease juvenile crime and youth participation in risky behaviors, the type which often leads to violence (Fox and Newman 1997). School Age Care by You’re Invited suggests as well, that afterschool programs, like ours, that offer students supervised and engaged structured activities during the high-risk period (e.g., 3:00-5:00pm), are necessary and it seems the cost of what quality afterschool care is, is substantially less than what it can cost our community in the long run. In our desire to promote the “it takes a village” philosophy at You’re Invited we are looking at starting reduced or free tuition scholarships for families with children ages 11-13 years. Our hope at School Age Care by You’re Invited is to continue providing a safe place for children in these very important years to be safe and develop social skills, character development. The greatest return on our investment in these children is to help them to grow the best they can and they return these skills as contributing members of our community.

If you are interested in more information about helping our low-income families keep their children in quality care or about any of our other programs please feel free to contact us.

*Fox, J.A., and S.A. Newman. 1997. After-School Crime or After-School Programs: Tuning in to the Prime Time for Violent Juvenile Crime and Implications for National Policy. A Report to the United States Attorney General. Washington, DC: Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.

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