While there is a great deal of attention and resources dedicated to out-of-school time programming for children grades K-6, children in upper middle school grades experience a lack of enriching afterschool programming. The State’s Purchase of Care policy provides subsidies directed toward after-school care for families of low- income. These subsidies, however, can only fund programming for children under the age of 12, leaving an entire population of middle school youth without enriching opportunities during a time when they are both vulnerable and in a critical phase of development. Programming that is available, however, is often targeted to support children K-6. As a result, there is a dearth in programming geared toward the specific social, emotional, and developmental needs of middle school youth.
Schools lack the capacity to coordinate programming that meets middle school youths’ needs. Providers are uncoordinated and do not communicate with one another to share resources or insights that could vastly elevate a child’s experience and development during out-of-school time. As a result, middle school youth are left susceptible to risk.