State needs to invest in afterschool programs

March 16, 2007
By

Can we count on our state legislators and the governor to invest in our young people across the Commonwealth?

A broad statewide coalition representing programs for young people was scheduled to ask state legislators this question at the Afterschool and Youth Advocacy Day at the State House on Wednesday. Urge our state legislators and the governor to support increased state funding for constructive, dynamic afterschool learning opportunities in our communities and schools. Research tells us that after-school programs help young people become successful citizens. See www.after-schoolalliance.org/research.cfm for more details.

Unfortunately, for more than 5,000 children in the Commonwealth,
after-school programming is out of reach. That’s how many children are on the wait list for subsidized child care. The Patrick-Murray administration is proposing level funding for subsidized child care. When one accounts for inflation, that is, in effect, a cut in funding. An investment of $8.2 million would cut the wait list in half, sending more than 2,500 children to programs where they would read, do homework, exercise and learn about citizenship, nutrition and character.

For every dollar we invest in our young people now, the resulting return is more than four times our investment, producing reductions in child care costs, improved school performance and reduced crime costs. Everyone needs to invest in our young people by supporting the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership’s state budget request. There is no better investment we can make.

Bob LaVallee
Jamaica Plain

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