The Need for Afterschool
In 2002, The Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children released a report on school-age youth titled After-School and Youth Development Programs.
The report numbers indicated that at least 1.2 million school-age children (ages 6 – 17) in Pennsylvania returned home from school to a household where every parent is working. The time spent alone equates to 20 to 25 hours a week.(i) In January 2004, the Philadelphia Safe and Sound conducted a statewide survey to gauge citizen's concerns regarding school-age children supervision.
The report revealed that 89 percent of Pennsylvania voters are distressed that children and teens are dismissed from school to unsupervised homes.(ii)
Finding Solutions that Work
In answer to this challenge, policy-makers and coalitions of afterschool providers created a new public/private system for expanding and improving the availability of out-of-school time programs for children and youth in Pennsylvania. In 2007, policy-makers in Allegheny County began meeting in a forum later to be named Allegheny Partners of Out-of-School Time (APOST) to address school-age children and youth concerns. APOST adopted the standard set forth by the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSADYN) to maintain a unified commonwealth set of outcomes and collaborative voice. (iii) Following the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit’s proposal model that was set before the C.S. Mott Foundation, the proposal outlined PSADYN’s afterschool objectives. These objectives are designed to expand and improve afterschool programs throughout the state using the following four strategies:
- Develop and implement a public policy that promotes higher quality standards and accessibility of afterschool programs at the community level;
- Establish a base of sustainable funding for afterschool programs;
- Identify and ensure that relevant and research-based training and technical assistance are available to programs in an effort to build and strengthen capacity within the field;
- Develop a communications plan to provide a forum for discussion, networking, problem solving, program development, awareness building, updates on network activities, and dissemination of resources.
Developing a Comprehensive Afterschool Website
With the above four strategic objectives in mind, the Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST) began refining the objectives into action plans. This website, AfterschoolPGH.org, and all other tools are a critical part of the overall goal to create a sustainable afterschool system design that meets these objectives.
i Pennsylvania Partnership for Children. (August 2002) After-School and Youth Development Programs Harrisburg, PA.: Author PPC www.papartnerships.org
ii Pennsylvania Public Safety Poll: Philadelphia Safe and Sound, (January 2004).
iii Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit. (June 11, 2004) Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Network Philadelphia PA.: Author CSIU