There is strong evidence that children and youth participating in afterschool programs experience positive outcomes in all areas of development along with decreases in high risk behaviors. In order for youth to experience the positive outcomes that afterschool programs can offer, the programs must be high quality.
High quality programming impacts the level of youth participation in a program, the satisfaction and retention of youth workers, and the impact programs have on youth, families and the community. These factors directly impact an afterschool program’s effectiveness and long-term viability. Surprisingly, research also shows that without an intentional focus on quality, programs may not benefit youth and in some cases youth may fail to achieve positive outcomes or even begin to perform worse than their peers. (Little, P.M. (2009). Harvard Family Research Project. Supporting student outcomes through expanded learning opportunities)