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Journal Issue: When School Is Out Volume 9 Number 2 Fall 1999

After-School Child Care Programs
Deborah Lowe Vandell Lee Shumow


When the public, elected officials, and child advocates focus on the risks and opportunities inherent in after-school hours, discussions quickly hone in on the benefits that after-school programs might offer. This article points out, however, that parents and children consider a wide variety of options for the after-school hours. Children may be with a parent or relative, they may go to lessons or play sports, they may spend time alone or with friends. For many children, this pattern of activities is reflective of their families' resources and neighborhood surroundings as well as their own needs and interests. Drawing on recent studies, this article documents children's experiences in different settings, discusses the variable quality of after-school programs, and indicates how program participation and exposure to self-care can affect children's adjustment in elementary school.