Policy Factsheet

After-School Programs with Academic Support Services

Reasons for Policy

  • An estimated 15% of children aged 6-12 are regularly unsupervised after school.1
  • More than two-thirds of low- and moderate-income youth do not have parental supervision available after school.2
  • Unstructured, unsupervised after-school time is associated with increased violence, delinquency, sexual intercourse, smoking, alcohol and drug use, and poor academic outcomes.3

Community Groups

  • Local Consumer Protection Agencies
  • Local District Attorney
  • Local Government

Policy Components

  • Provide positive adult supervision while offering academic, youth development, and recreational activities
  • Employ evidence-based training methods for the program that incorporate a planned set of activities which use active forms of learning to target positive youth development
  • Involve partnerships between community-based organizations (and/or universities) and schools

Desired Outcomes

  • Reduced risk-taking behaviors
  • Positive youth development
  • Enhanced academic, social, emotional, and behavioral growth

Level of Evidence Available to Evaluate Effectiveness of Policy

For all policies we describe on this website, we have applied the Standards of Evidence as defined by Flay et al. (2005) in the Standards of Evidence document published by Prevention Science.

The effectiveness level of this policy is 1: Evidence-Based Policies Meeting Criteria for Effectiveness.

The levels of effectiveness as noted are:

  1. meets criteria for policy effectiveness (consistent, positive outcomes from at least two high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental trials using a comparison group or interrupted time series design);
  2. consistent evidence available linking policy with positive outcomes from high-quality observational studies only;
  3. insufficient evidence available for policy or policy components.

Achievable Results

The following summary of achievable results is based on a published review of the scientific evidence.4

Significant improvements have been observed for:

  • Reading achievement among students at risk for school failure (small effect size of 0.07)5
  • Mathematics achievement among students at risk for school failure (moderate effect size of 0.26)5
  • Child self-perceptions, including self-esteem, self-concept, self-efficacy (moderate effect size of 0.34)6
  • School bonding (small effect size of 0.14)6
  • Appropriate behavioral control (small effect size of 0.18)6
  • Performance on standardized school achievement tests (small effect size of 0.16)6
  • Grades in school (small effect size of 0.11)6

Significant reductions have been observed for:

  • Problem behaviors, including non-compliance, aggression, delinquent acts, disciplinary referrals, and rebelliousness (small effect size of 0.19)6
  • Self-reported drug use (small effect size of 0.11)6

Community Examples

Links to Policy Examples


  1. Vandiere, S, Tout, K, Zaslow, M, Clakins, J, & Capizzano, J ( 2003). Unsupervised time: Family and child factors associated with self-care. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.  

  2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2000). Families with own children: Employment status of parents by age of youngest child and family type, 2001-2002 annual averages. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/news.release/famee/t04.htm.  

  3. U.S. Department of Education & U.S. Department of Justice (2000). Working for children and families: Safe and smart after-school programs. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov.  

  4. Flay, BR, Biglan, A, Boruch, RF, Ganzalez Castro, F, Gottfredson, D, Kellam, S, Moscicki, EK, Schinke, S, Valentine, JC, & Ji, P (2005). Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness and dissemination. Prevention Science, 6(3), 151-175.

  5. Lauer, PA, Akiba, M, Wilderson, SB, Apthorp, HS, Snow, D, & Martin-Glenn, ML (2006). Out-of-school-time programs: A meta-analysis of effects for at-risk students. Review of Educational Research, 76(2), 275-313.  

  6. Durlak, JA & Weissberg, RP (2007). The impact of after-school programs that seek to promote personal and social skills. Chicago, IL: The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning.