A new report shows one-third of Iowa children spend time unsupervised during after-school hours. The Afterschool Alliance report also claims only one in 10 children in Iowa have access to afterschool programs. Afterschool Alliance vice president for policy and research Jen Rinehart spoke at a press conference in Des Moines today .
“Of all the kids who don’t have a place to go, one-third would be in a program if there were one available. So it’s clear there’s demand here for more programs and more kids would be in afterschool if we had additional funding in this state,” Rinehart said. Carmen Lampe Zeitler is director of Children and Family Urban Ministries, which provides before and after-school programs in a working-class Des Moines neighborhood. She says many families they serve have few options.
“Parents are working low-wage jobs. They can’t afford childcare – it’s very expensive. So (the children) would be with a neighbor, on their own or maybe with an older sibling after school,” Zeitler said. The Afterschool Alliance report looks at differences in the availability of after-school programs in rural, suburban and urban environments. It found that only about 1 in 10 rural children attend such programs, which is lower than the national rate of about 15%.