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After-School Care: Child Outcomes and Recommendations for Research and Policy


With increases in family employment rates, there is growing interest in how children spend their time after school. This paper reviews the current research literature on relative care, non-relative care, after-school programs, and self-care for school age children with special attention paid to child outcomes from participation in various after school care arrangements. Research shows mixed findings regarding relations between type of after-school care and child outcome. The use of self-care is not associated with negative child outcomes for predominantly Caucasian children within rural and suburban populations. Different outcomes for self-care are found, however, within urban and minority communities. For low-income families, positive effects from participation in formal after-school programs are found. Major policy recommendations are: (1) to increase federal funding available for after-school programs; (2) to set standards for programs; (3) to involve the community in administering after-school programs, and (4) to make more information regarding after-school care options available to parents.

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Sarampote, N.C., Bassett, H.H. & Winsler, A. After-School Care: Child Outcomes and Recommendations for Research and Policy. Child & Youth Care Forum 33, 329–348 (2004).

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  • after-school policy
  • school-age children
  • child care