801 23rd Avenue So. Seattle, WA 98144
Program Funding for School-Age Care Programs:
Issue: School-age care programs provide positive experiences for children and youth ages 5-12 during their out-of-school hours. These programs can take place before the school day starts, after the school day ends, or during teacher planning days and school holidays and summer vacations.
School-age care programs provide enrichment activities, homework assistance, positive social interactions, community service opportunities, life skills training, and most importantly, an appropriately trained adult that is available to them during hours when parents are at work. These programs can be found in a wide variety of locations including schools, homes, churches, community centers, or at libraries. Programs can have many different philosophies and goals, but all have the common theme of providing safe and nurturing experiences for children during their out-of-school time.
Need: Research shows that children involved in positive out-of-school time programs are less likely to experiment with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and early sexual experimentation. These children typically do better in school and have better conflict resolution skills. Children in quality programs are more likely to have opportunities to participate in community service activities and have nurturing relationships with adult role models. In addition, these children are less likely to become involved in violent activities or become gang members if they participate in safe and constructive activities.
School-age care programs serve a vital role in any community. They are small businesses and employers of child care professionals. These programs also act as a positive prevention mechanism for youth violence. School-age care programs serve an important service for parents who are in the workforce or otherwise unable to be at home when school is not in session. Programs located on school premises serve as a strong deterrent for school vandalism that occurs when school buildings are left empty for extended periods of time.
Currently in Washington state:
- Recent KIDS Count data report that the population of this age group is 563,800
- 52% of parents of this age group are currently in Washington state’s workforce
- DSHS subsidy data reports only 52,656 slots are available for this age group in licensed care programs. This means that roughly 230,000 children are either being left home alone, are caring for younger siblings, or are “hanging-out” at the local malls or street corners.
- In a recent funding request, 110 school-age programs asked for $500,000.00 to enhance the quality of programs currently being offered in communities across the state. Unfortunately, only 13 programs were awarded the available $65,000.00 in funds. The maximum amount a program could request was $5,000.00 for basic program supplies or other types of program enhancements.
- Additionally, in the most recent grant process for the 21st Century Learning Centers from the US Department of Education, only seven school districts in Washington State were awarded funds. These grants emphasize community collaboration around such issues as school-age care programs. Communities are ripe for a process that involves multiple funding streams and human service partners.
In 1993, the Washington State Legislature requested an in depth study on Washington’s State Role in Building an effective school-age care system. This report clearly defined a comprehensive plan focusing on policies and funding that build local capacity, increase accessibility and affordability of quality care to all populations and communities, and to offer choices to families in selecting programs. Since this report, many of these suggestions and ideas have been incorporated in the work plans of the school age care system and Washington state is gaining ground in ensuring that children and youth age 5-12 have safe and positive places to go during out-of-school time, but no additional funds have been designated to support any recommendations in that report. In addition, no comprehensive funding amounts have been dedicated for any type start-up or expansion of programs since 1991.Considering the increased need resulting from Welfare Reform, and the additional stresses increased need has placed on communities, it is even more critical to dedicate start-up funding for new programs or resources for expansion of existing programs.
Action: $ 1,000,000.00 in start-up or expansion costs
A commitment of $25,000.00 to communities wishing to expand or enhance existing programs would have immediate and lasting impacts on communities and families. At least 35 communities from across Washington State could obtain funding and receive technical assistance to support the expansion or establishment of programs for children during their out-of-school time. From past experiences, the training and technical assistance component of these funds is critical to sustaining the activities implemented in communities. These state dollars could directly increase the number of children currently being served in programs by at least 1,750 slots. Programs selected to receive funding would be in areas where there are the greatest needs and priority would be given to programs serving a high number of TANF families. With 1 million dollars, Washington state could fund 35 programs in communities across the state that would ensure 1,750 school-age children are in safe quality programs when school is not in session.
Outcome: Children spend less than 20 percent of the waking hours in school. Schools typically are open less that half the days of the year, and when open, provide care only until mid-afternoon. What happens in the other 80 percent of the time is critical to children’s development. Quality out-of-school time programs can have lasting implications on a child’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Whether or not their mother is employed, research indicates that what children do during non-school hours also have a critical impact on school achievement and long-term success. Research indicates that the activities, in which children are engaged, as well as the quality of adult supervision they receive, are as important as family income and parents’ education in determing academic success.
Contact Janet Frieling, School’s Out Consortium, for more information at
School-age Care Subcommittee
of the Child Care Coordinating Committee
The School-age Care Subcommittee has been an officially dedicated subcommittee of the Child Care Coordinating Committee (CCCC) since 1993. The subcommittee:
* provides information to the CCCC on the issues facing school-age care providers and the children and families they serve
* ensures that a communication link is established for both the CCCC and the school-age care community
* serves on other subcommittees of the CCCC further ensuring that open communication exists at all levels within the child care system
* generally meets four times a year in the Seattle/King County area
* in the past year, the subcommittee has focused on making recommended changes to the school-age care minimum licensing regulations, writing additional regulations to address the issue of programs that care for children with special needs, and working with other CCCC subcommittees to ensure their work includes school-age care issues
The School-age Care Subcommittee is currently chaired by Deborah Duitch, of the YMCA of Greater Seattle. Deborah has been the chair for the past 1.5 years. The subcommittee is staffed by Janet Frieling, School’s Out Consortium, with funding support from the Federal Dependent Care Block Grant.
If you would like to become a member of this exciting subcommittee please call Deborah Duitch at 206-382-5003 or Janet Frieling at 206-461-3602.