Nationally and Locally, Afterschool Programs Struggle
|May 11, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Budget, Education, Youth Development||
A report from the Afterschool Alliance highlights another example of programs experiencing decreased funding and increased demand. This challenge, already felt by mental health providers and food banks, is also affecting afterschool and summer programs. Uncertain Times 2012: Afterschool Programs Still Struggling in Today’s Economy discusses the results of a study examining the impact of the economy on afterschool programs for youth, noting that although they provide a popular and worthy service, their budgets continue to dwindle.
The study found that programs in urban, suburban and rural areas are all struggling with less funding and increased demand for their services. Additional findings:
- Nearly 40 percent of programs surveyed reported budgets that are “in worse shape” currently than in the midst of the recession four years ago. Specifically, 68 percent of programs serving a mostly African-American population and 65 percent of those serving a mostly Latino population reported diminished funds compared to three years ago.
- Over half of the programs (58 percent) reported being at or above maximum capacity with 36 percent maintained a waiting list. Demand for afterschool programs serving African-American and Latino children was reported to be even higher. Among programs serving primarily African-American youth, 65 percent were at or above maximum capacity, and 41 percent had a waiting list. Among those serving primarily Latino children, 70 percent were at or above maximum capacity and 48 percent had a waiting list.
The Pittsburgh Project, a nonprofit community development organization on Pittsburgh’s North Side, is featured in this report as an example of the real-world impact of economic conditions on a local program. Since the economic downturn, the Pittsburgh Project has experienced a 40 percent decrease in their budget resulting in staff layoffs, reduced hours, fewer children served and the elimination of many program activities.