Senator Lisa Murkowski today introduced the bipartisan Afterschool for America's Children Act, to help children and families by investing in high quality afterschool programs across the country. The bill is co-sponsored by her Senate colleagues in the Senate Afterschool Caucus: Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Patty Murray (D-WA).
"Studies have shown the effectiveness of after school programs not only in giving children a well-rounded education, but also in reducing crime, increasing parental involvement, and improving the academic achievement of participating kids," said Murkowski.
"I know how important the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is in many Alaskan communities, both urban and rural -- from Savoonga to Nikiski and in Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. The Afterschool for America's Children Act ensures that children continue to have access to a wide range of academic support outside of school hours, but it does so the right way, with effective guidelines and standards to keep the bar high so students get the most out of their afterschool programs and federal funds are spent responsibly."
This important legislation would reauthorize the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program, which has allowed millions of children to attend afterschool programs over the last decade -- including over 1.6 million children last year. Reauthorizing this program will ensure that children of working families continue to have a safe, well-rounded and enriching environment until the end of their parent's work day.
Senator Boxer said, "The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program has provided millions of children with a safe place where they can enrich their education even after the school bell rings. This legislation will strengthen this vital program for the future so that our children have a better option than coming home to empty houses or hanging out on the streets."
"I am proud to cosponsor this legislation that will help so many young people across America access safe and enriching afterschool programs," said Senator Patty Murray. "Afterschool programs are a proven way to improve academic performance, and we know that students who attend them are more likely to go to college and start off their lives on the right track.
Supporters of the bill include the Afterschool Alliance, National Parent Teacher Association, American Heart Association, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, First Focus Campaign for Children, National 4-H Council and YMCA of the USA.