The lack of affordable afterschool care is a problem, but why is it a problem? Because afterschool care provides benefits that children who cannot attend these programs miss out on. Many after-school programs were closed due to COVID-19, and in the present, there’s still a severe lack of affordable after-school programs. The lack of afterschool programs can be fixed by reinstating the CARES Act, which was created during the pandemic to provide childcare assistance for low-income households that couldn’t afford it.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Afterschool programs help to improve student educational outcomes, school attendance, and social and emotional learning.” Afterschool programs also help improve student life and provide youth with safe spaces. They are a great resource for students to get homework help and form a sense of identity.
However, afterschool programs for children from low-income families are scarce. According to “America After 3 pm,” 57% of parents report that after-school programs are too expensive, which is the second most common reason they did not or could not enroll their children in after-school programs.
The solution to this problem is that the government should reintroduce the CARES Act and put it back into effect. The CARES Act would remove the financial barriers to afterschool activities and make them accessible to low-income families (Business Insider). Having the CARES Act in place has helped, and can still help, people with that lack of accommodations for low-income families.
The government should reinstate the CARES Act to help low-income families pay for childcare. You can advocate for this bill to be passed by writing letters to legislators and speaking with current and/or future legislators about this issue.