12/2/2009 10:48:45 AM

 

 

E-newsletter sent by the Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc.

 


On Thursday October 22 the Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc. held their 2009 Legislative Advocacy Breakfast. Held in conjunction with the national Lights on Afterschool celebration, the event reinforced the importance of after school programs to children’s success and safety.  Legislator Judy Myers was honored as a Friend of After School in Westchester County for her support of school age programs and all early care and education programs.

 

The Advocacy Breakfast featured a ‘Town Hall’ meeting at which six children from the Harrison Children’s Center, Harrison Avenue After School Program and Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School After Care School Program asked our elected officials about their after school experiences.  Legislator Ken Jenkins, Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, Assemblyman Adam Bradley, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Legislator Judy Myers participated in the Town Hall meeting. 

 

The hours after school, between 3 and 6 pm, are prime time for juvenile crime.  Today, about one third of all school-age children, an estimated five million between ages five and 13, are so-called latchkey children - kids who care for themselves while parents are at work. One third of all complaints to child welfare agencies involve latchkey children.  Studies have found that latch-key kids are more likely to use alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs than children who are supervised after school.

 

After school programs provide, among other things, socialization, positive role models, learning and enrichment, and contribute to healthy lifestyle options for children.  They improve school attendance and engagement in learning, as well as test scores and grades.  Those children who participate more frequently and for longer periods of time are most likely to benefit from out of school time activities.  In addition, children who participate in after school programs show significant improvement in three major areas:  feelings and attitudes, increased indicators of behavior adjustment which includes positive social behaviors and reduction in aggression, conduct problems and drug use, and increased school and achievement test scores. 

 

Often times after school programs provide children with opportunities to meet needs that schools can’t:  personal attention from adults, positive peer groups and activities that hold their interest and build self esteem.

 

A recent survey by the Afterschool Alliance found that in 2005/2006, 86% of providers surveyed said that children in their communities who need after school programs do not have access to them. 

 

Finding and sustaining funding to support out of school time programs is critical to developing and continuing promising after school efforts over the long term.  This includes making better use of existing funds, maximizing available federal dollars creating more flexibility in funding streams, the development of new dedicated revenue sources for after school programs and creating partnerships between public and private sector organizations and funding sources. 

 

Thank you for your continued support of after school programs in Westchester County.