There are currently 10.2 million children in after-school programs, and demand is growing. For every child currently in a program, another two are waiting to get in.
So how does your state measure up when it comes to after-school programs? The AfterschoolAlliance put together a composite score for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia to determine which state has the best programs.
States were measured using several criteria including participation rates, parent satisfaction with programs and number of hours a child spent in an after-school program a week.
10. Hawaii1 of 11
Hawaii rounds out the top-10 states with its high number of after-school participants, ranked second overall in this category with 26 percent of students enrolled in an after-school program. The number of kids who spent time in self-care has dropped significantly in Hawaii since 2009 from 33 to 17 percent. One of the key reasons for the state's success is Hawaii's After-School Plus (A+) Program, which has provided homework assistance and other activities after school for almost 25 years, until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year.
9. Tennessee2 of 11
This year marks the first time Tennessee has cracked the top 10. Although its participation rate is lower than Hawaii, Tennessee has 52 percent of low-income children participating in an after-school program. Plus, Tennessee has a low percentage of kids in self-care and has a high satisfaction rate among parents. A network of after-school program providers, the Nashville After Zone Alliance, has been steadily increasing student participation in after-school programs and hopes to reach 1,000 students per year by the end of 2015.
8. Nebraska3 of 11
Nebraska is also breaking in to the top 10 this year, as the state lands the No. 8 spot due to the high number of hours children spend each week in after-school programs. Children in Nebraska spend 9.64 hours each week in after-school programs, higher than any other state. The state also ranks high in parent satisfaction, quality of care and program cost. After-school systems in Lincoln and Omaha have served as models for the entire state, which has spread learning and after-school programs across Nebraska.
7. Oregon4 of 11
Another state new to the top 10 is Oregon. Oregon ranks sixth in the number of hours children spend in after-school programs, averaging 8.14 hours per week. However, the student participation rate is lower than the national average at 16 percent. Still, Oregon has a high number of low-income children in after-school programs and ranks second overall in parent satisfaction. For the past three years, Oregon has invested in more summer learning programs and more collaboration between schools and out-of-school groups.
6. Arizona5 of 11
Parents in Arizona are highly satisfied with their after-school programs, as the satisfaction rate has nearly doubled since 2009 to 95 percent. However, while parent satisfaction increased, the number of hours children spend in after-school programs has dropped from 11 hours to 6.79 hours per week. Still, improving after-school programs has been a high priority for the state in recent years. Organizations including the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence and the Valley of the Sun United Way have formed committees to develop standards for after-school programs. As of now, more than 400 schools in the state have committed to use these standards to strengthen their after-school programs.
5. Massachusetts6 of 11
Massachusetts enters the top five due to its high number of hours children spend in after-school programs each week and a participation rate that is higher than the national average. Children in Massachusetts spend about nine hours a week in after-school programs, and 40 percent of low-income children are enrolled in one. The Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership and the Afterschool and Out-of-School Time Coordinating Council have brought awareness to policymakers in the state, which has increased spending on after-school programs in the last several years.
4. Vermont7 of 11
Another one of the six states new to the top 10, Vermont has strong after-school program participation, ranking fourth in the U.S. at 24 percent. Parent satisfaction rates with quality of care and cost of programs have increased in Vermont since 2009 to near 90 percent. Improvements in Vermont's after-school programs is due largely to the collaboration of the Vermont Agency of Education, Vermont Department for Children and Families and Vermont Afterschool, the statewide afterschool network.
3. Florida8 of 11
Florida has moved from the eighth place in 2009 to third. High overall participation rates, high participation of low-income children and the number of hours spent in after-school programs all contribute to Florida's high ranking. Parent satisfaction has also improved since 2009. The number of parents extremely satisfied with after-school programs has increased 16 points in four years. Florida spends close to $60 million annually on after-school programs. Major funding comes from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which helps fund local organizations that provide services to children and families.
2. Washington, D.C.9 of 11
The District of Columbia lands at second on the list—the first time since the first year data was collected there. D.C. ranks No. 1 in child participation with 35 percent of children in after-school programs. And children in this territory spend close to nine hours in after-school programs each week. But the high number of children left in self-care is what kept D.C. from nabbing the top spot. D.C. ranks No. 1 in the number of children left alone and unsupervised in the country. Funding for after-school programs in the state has dropped in recent years. However, the D.C. Alliance of Youth Advocates and the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation have helped to increase funding.
1. California10 of 11
California moves up from fourth to grab the coveted No. 1 spot. The participation rate for the state has increased 6 points since 2009 and serves more than 377,000 students across the state. While the number of hours children spend in after-school programs has decreased slightly since 2009, it still ranks in the top 10 among other states. Parent satisfaction in California has increased significantly in the past four years, from 66 to 80 percent. State funding has grown after a 2006 voter-approved initiative, which began an annual investment of $550 million in California's After School Education and Safety Program.