Women Senators Urge Increased Funding for Afterschool Programs in 2008 Budget
All 14 women Senators today sent a letter to President Bush urging the Administration to support increased federal funding for afterschool programs.
December 11, 2006
The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to urge you to support increased funding in your fiscal year 2008 budget proposal for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) so the program can grow, and the 15 million children who come home afterschool to an empty house can have the option of high-quality, safe, afterschool learning activities.
Today the federal afterschool program, which provides grants to programs that serve approximately 1.3 million children, is vital to children and families across America. Afterschool programs provide safe and enriching environments for children after the end of the school day, and the demand for Afterschool programs continue to grow.
Numerous studies confirm what parents and community leaders already know -- afterschool programs keep children safe, reduce crime and drug use, and improve academic performance. In addition, public support for afterschool is strong. In a public opinion survey conducted last month by the Afterschool Alliance, 82% of voters agreed that there should be some type of organized activity or safe space for children and teens to go every day after school. Also, two in three voters said that afterschool programs "are an absolute necessity" in their communities.
The demand for affordable, quality afterschool programs far exceeds the availability of these programs. We all hear from our constituents, as well as local officials, that more afterschool programs are needed. Mayors in 86 cities reported that only one-third of the children needing afterschool care were receiving it. The need for afterschool programs is even more acute in rural areas.
The 21st CCLC program has been level funded for six consecutive years. If this trend continues, it will become more difficult for the 21st CCLC program to meet the needs of the children currently served, and it will prevent the program from growing to reach more children. For these reasons, we urge you to propose an increase in funding for this vital program so that more children can receive the proven benefits of quality afterschool programs.
Kay Bailey Hutchinson
Hillary Rodham Clinton