Estimating Supply and Demand for Afterschool Programs

October 1, 2004

Executive Summary
Many states and communities struggle to quantify and describe the need for and availability of afterschool
programs that provide enriching activities to children and keep them safe and engaged
during nonschool hours. This tool provides a framework?from basic steps to an in-depth
process?for estimating afterschool program supply and demand by summarizing and highlighting
experiences in a number of states and communities. The process includes the following steps:| Determining a process that meets specific, expressed needs;| Convening a planning group;| Utilizing existing state and local data;| Collecting new data through use of a variety of survey tools; and| Analyzing and applying gathered information.
The tool also includes lessons learned from pioneers in the field, including the following advice to
state and community leaders:| Have a solid plan for applying the data;| Involve a range of partners;| Share the data widely; and| Remember that collecting supply and demand information is one of many steps in building a
system of afterschool programs.
1 For polling information, see Afterschool Alert Poll Report.Washington, DC: Afterschool Alliance, 2003.
Available Also see What PTA Members Think about
Afterschool Programs. Chicago, IL: National PTA. Available
afterschool/think.asp. School Board Presidents? Views of Afterschool Programs in American Schools.
Washington, DC: National School Board Association. Available at
2 See, for example, Miller, B. Critical Hours: Afterschool Programs and Educational Success. Quincy, MA:
Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Available
In communities all over the country, afterschool programs play an important role in keeping children
and youth safe, providing them with important learning opportunities, and helping them become
successful adults. Federal, state, local, and private investments in afterschool programs have grown
in recent years due both to widespread public support and a better understanding of the crucial role
such programs play in serving children and youth and the communities in which they live.1
Afterschool programs come in many different shapes and sizes, from tutoring to drop-in sports
leagues to more comprehensive programs that provide an array of activities for children as well as
their families. Positive youth development, prevention, child care, education, skills development,
mentoring?whatever the program approach, a growing body of evidence points to the important
role quality afterschool programs play in helping children succeed both academically and socially.2
Despite the growth in attention and funding for afterschool programs, many questions remain about
availability and accessibility. As policymakers consider funding for afterschool programs, they often
want to know more about the current need for these services?especially among low-income families.
Among the questions policymakers ask are: What programs are currently out there? How many
children are being served? How many children would like to be in afterschool programs but for one
reason or another are not? What resources currently support existing programs, and are
they sufficient?
The answers to these questions can enable state and local leaders to identify gaps between the
supply and demand for care and assist policymakers in considering where and how to best target
scarce resources. Several states and communities have already begun to collect and analyze this
information. This tool draws upon those experiences to outline concrete steps in the process of
estimating supply and demand. It provides examples of states and communities that have undertaken
this task, outlines a five-step process for planning and collecting data, and offers guidance
and lessons learned from the field.
Estimating Supply and Demand for Afterschool Programs:
Purpose and Use in States and Communities
A growing number of states and communities are developing estimates of supply and
demand for afterschool programs?often as part of a larger effort to create systems of
afterschool care. As the following examples show, the methods and approaches differ
according to identified needs and available resources.| In 2000, Alabama?s governor asked the Program for Rural Services and Research
(PRSR) at the University of Alabama to gather information on the supply of afterschool
programs across the state. County-by-county information was collected by
survey and presented in an online format to assist parents in finding available
programs in their communities. Visit for
more information.| In the spring of 2001, the Illinois General Assembly passed a resolution establishing
the Illinois After-School Initiative Task Force, convened and co-chaired by the Illinois
State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Human Services. The task
force was charged with developing recommendations for enhancing and expanding
out-of-school time services across the state. To inform their recommendations, the
60-member task force set out to understand the availability and conditions of afterschool
programs. The project?s data working group counted school-age children in
working parent families and collected information on program funding, program
characteristics and activities, and family and youth perspectives on afterschool
services. The final report was presented to the legislature in 2002. View the report at| The Montana Child Care Resource and Referral Network, as part of its state School-
Age Care Task Force, gathered supply and demand information in order to 1) create
a detailed description of programs across the state, and 2) inform and improve afterschool
policies. The Network used the data to generate county-by-county supply and
demand maps that show where programs are available and what percentage of
school-age children with working parents are served. For more information, visit| In South Carolina, several agencies led by the Department of Social Services came
together in 2001 to identify existing afterschool resources. The process was one of
the catalyzing forces behind the formalization of the South Carolina Afterschool
Alliance, a network composed of these agencies and many others, to support
afterschool programs across the state. Existing afterschool programs, statewide
achievement test scores, and poverty levels are being mapped for each of the state?s
regions. The information has been used to create a program database and to
identify training and technical assistance needs.
Getting Started and Collecting Information
Assessing supply and demand can be accomplished in a variety of ways, all of which require gathering
and analyzing data to develop well-informed estimates. As with all estimation processes, the
more resources available to the process, the more precise the estimates will be. But even the simplest
estimates require sufficient resources and staff time to produce information that is logical,
defensible, and as accurate as possible. In some instances, you may choose to refer to available
data, perhaps from resource and referral agencies or census collections. Even in the best case,
it is likely that some new data will have to be gathered. The amount and quality of the data and
the processes needed to collect it will drive the timeline, cost, and precision of the estimates.
7| In 1999, the Boston-based Parents United for Childcare launched the Out-of-School
Time Financing Initiative to consider options for funding a statewide system of outof-
school time care in Massachusetts. A working group composed of parents, public
school educators, out-of-school time providers, and representatives from state and
local health care, juvenile justice, business, child welfare, and mental health agencies
set out to 1) assess supply and demand, 2) analyze existing funding, 3) develop a
system for estimating annual cost per child, and 4) research financing strategies
based on collected information. The work was compiled into a report, Meeting the
Challenge: Financing Out-of-School Time Programming in Boston and
Massachusetts, complete with recommended action steps.| In New York City, The After-School Corporation (TASC) surveyed Brooklyn parents to
better understand supply and demand in one community school district with the
intention of using the information to develop larger-scale surveys in the future. The
survey gauged demand for afterschool programs and the extent to which parents
knew about and utilized existing ones.| In 2002, the Missouri legislature adopted a resolution creating the Joint Interim
Committee on Afterschool Programs to review afterschool programs in the state.
The resolution called on the committee to 1) analyze the quantity and quality of
Missouri afterschool programs, through solicitation of appropriate state agencies,
public schools, youth development organizations, law enforcement agencies and
juvenile officers, youth development and education experts, and the public (including
youth) and 2) recommend a plan to provide and sustain afterschool programs to
school-age children in Missouri (For more information, see ?Informing State
Policymakers: State Legislation and Afterschool Programs? on pg. 9.)
Step 1: Determine A Process That Will Meet
Your Needs
Before beginning the process of collecting and analyzing supply and demand data, you
should be very clear about exactly what data you need and how you will use it. The following
questions can help clarify this process:| What is the driving purpose?| What is the scope?| What resources, including time, are available?
What is the driving purpose?
Supply and demand information may be used for one or more of the following purposes:| Identifying gaps in available afterschool services (for all children or for certain populations,
such as low-income youth).| Supplying information to policymakers that will inform decisions.| Mapping the variety and amount of federal, state, and local funding that supports afterschool
programming across the state.| Providing information to parents and youth to help them identify programs in their
communities.| Engaging business leaders in public-private partnerships.| Identifying common technical assistance needs for afterschool programs.
The type of information that will be collected and presented is determined in large part by the
driving force behind the survey?is this a grassroots effort, a legislative mandate, or an executive
order? Answering this question will help you remain focused on needs and goals.
Informing State Policymakers:
State Legislation and Afterschool Programs
Increasingly, state legislatures and other policymakers are calling for estimates of the
supply and demand for afterschool programming. Most commonly, a state-level task
force or other working group is established and charged with providing needed data.
In 2002, the Missouri legislature adopted a resolution creating the Joint Interim
Committee on Afterschool Programs to review the afterschool programs in the state.
The resolution called on the committee to:| Analyze the quantity and quality of Missouri afterschool programs, through solicitation
of appropriate state agencies, public schools, youth development organizations,
law enforcement agencies and juvenile officers, youth development and education
experts, and the public (including youth); and| Recommend, in consultation with the Departments of Elementary and Secondary
Education and Social Services, a plan to ?provide the opportunity for every Missouri
school-age child to access quality afterschool programs and design a system to train,
mentor, and support afterschool programs, and thereby guarantee their
View the Missouri resolution at
In 2001, the Illinois General Assembly passed HR0063 directing the State Board of
Education and the Department of Human Services to convene and co-chair the Illinois
After-School Initiative Task Force. The legislation called on the Illinois After-School
Initiative Task Force, comprised of other related state agencies and private organizations,
to assess the state of afterschool services in Illinois, including identification of the:| Number of children and youth served in afterschool programs statewide;| Number and location of children and youth in need of programs; and| Various funding streams supporting afterschool programs.
Finally, the bill called upon the initiative to develop ?a plan for coordinating afterschool
services and for achieving a goal of providing afterschool services for every schoolage
child,? including state strategies to promote best practices for programs as well as
to ?promote coordination and collaboration of afterschool services at the local level.?
View Illinois HR0063 at
(For more information on the work of the Illinois After-School Initiative Task Force, see ?Estimating Supply
and Demand for Afterschool: Purpose and Use in States and Communities? on p.6.) For additional information
on other state legislation, visit the National Conference of State Legislatures searchable database at
What is the scope of work?
Determining the scope of work will influence the way supply and demand information is
gathered and documented. The scope of work ultimately depends on three factors: the
stated purpose of the effort, the kinds of information partners want to collect (supply, demand,
or both), and the available resources (see below). In all likelihood, state leaders will be seeking
to collect broad information on both the supply and demand for afterschool programming in
order to get a fuller picture of the afterschool landscape. However, there may be cases where it
is necessary or desirable to collect only some portion of this information. For example, in some
communities there may exist a strong recognition that demand for services is high but that information
about available programs is scant. In this case, survey administrators may determine that
resources be targeted largely to assess the supply of afterschool programs. In a similar way,
survey administrators must decide which types of programs will be included in the supply and
demand analysis. If the decision is to look broadly at all available services, the resulting information
will give a fuller picture of the afterschool landscape. On one hand, collecting and
analyzing information from a broad range of programs is costly and complicated. On the other
hand, restricting the analysis to a subset of programs (e.g., school-based) will simplify the collection
and analysis of data and keep costs down, but will produce a more limited view of afterschool
programs. Being clear about the ultimate uses of the data can help guide decisions about investing
scarce resources.
What resources, including time, are available?
In addition to the purpose and scope, the available resources and timeline are critical determinants
of the process. In general, the tighter the timeline and fewer the resources, the more you will need
to use available data.
The following considerations can help to determine the type of process necessary to develop
supply and demand estimates:| Will this analysis result in a one-time snapshot of supply and demand for afterschool or will
information be updated on a regular basis? The resources needed to update and track
information over time are very different from those needed for a one-time collection.| Is this effort designed to address the quality of care that is currently available (such as
optimal staff-child ratios or the number of programs that are licensed or accredited)?| How frequently will these estimates be updated? If supply and demand data are to be
updated regularly, survey administrators will have to determine who will be the keeper and
manager of the data and where the resources will come from to support ongoing work.
11| Can new partners be engaged in this effort? The call to collect information on the
supply of, and demand for, afterschool programs provides an opportunity to draw in
new partners (such as resource and referral agencies or state agencies) that have been
thinking about adding this type of collection to their own ongoing efforts.| How much new information needs to be collected? Surveys of parents and providers
take time and resources to develop, administer, process, and analyze.| What geographic area will the estimates
cover? Consider the size, geography,
and diversity of your state and localities
when developing resource estimates.
Larger states and cities, rural areas, and
those with diverse populations (perhaps
requiring language translation) will take
longer to survey.| Even under the best of circumstances,
data collection and analysis may take
longer than originally planned. Be sure
to build a time cushion into efforts with
a tight or definite timeline.
?Developing maps of Montana?s school-age care
supply and demand by county is our most laborintensive,
time-consuming task each year! But it gives
us a tool to illustrate the lack of services statewide,
especially in rural counties. And local programs use
our maps to demonstrate need when they apply for
new funding.?
Janet Bush, Executive Director, Montana Child Care
Resource and Referral Network
What Do You Mean by ?Afterschool??
?Afterschool? means different things to different people and can be used to describe
such activities as academic enrichment and tutoring, school-age care, youth development,
mentoring, arts and music, technology, conflict resolution, community service,
recreation/sports, substance abuse prevention, and literacy. ?Afterschool? may encompass
formal school-sponsored clubs and groups, such as team practices or music
rehearsals; it can also include programs that occur before as well as after school, on weekends,
holidays, and during summer months. Every state, city, or locality has to begin the
process of assessing supply and demand by adopting a clear definition of ?afterschool.?
3 The Illinois After-School Initiative 2002 Task Force Report, Illinois Center for Violence Prevention on behalf
of the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois State Board of Education, 2002. Available at
4 Meeting the Challenge: Financing Out-of-School Time Programming in Boston and Massachusetts, Parents
United for Childcare, March 2001, pages 18-19.
Step 2: Put Together a Team
Those experienced in collecting and analyzing supply and demand data for afterschool programs
all agree that the success of this exercise depends on the efforts of many people. To
this end, they unanimously suggest convening a planning group early in the process.
Convene a Planning Group
Sometimes the decision to gauge supply and demand comes out of the work of a state task force
or other collaborative body where partners are already around the table. Whether or not a planning
entity exists or a new one must be convened, it is important to take a step back and be sure
that the group comprises all stakeholders needed to reach the full range of afterschool providers,
including school-based programs, family child care homes, licensed child care centers, community-
based providers, and any other providers within your definition of ?afterschool.? State or local
agency officials, representatives from networks of afterschool providers, school officials, researchers,
foundation partners, and business leaders are all good choices for the membership of an effective
planning group. The planning partners can help refine the early thinking about the process and will
likely have resources to share?both technical and financial?to help get the work done.
Who Will Bring the Pieces Together?
States have utilized the resources of different partners?from public agencies to universities
to community-based organizations?to collect data on the supply of and demand for
afterschool programs.| In Illinois, the After-School Initiative Task Force designated a data working group, led
by the Center for Prevention Research and Development at the University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign, that developed the survey instrument and managed the survey
process. In addition to collecting new data, the working group gathered available
data from state and local human services agencies; previous studies of the University
of Illinois Center for Prevention Research and Development; and participation figures
from federal, state, and public school programs.3| The Montana Child Care Resource and Referral Network gathered data on the
supply of programs across the state as part of its School-Age Care Task Force.| The South Carolina Department of Social Services took the lead in developing and
distributing a survey instrument for South Carolina?s statewide afterschool network.| Parents United for Child Care devised supply and demand estimates for afterschool
programs in Boston and throughout Massachusetts using data from the U.S. Census
Bureau, the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services, the Massachusetts
Department of Education, and parent surveys.4
5 For an overview of market rate surveys, see Conducting Market Rate Surveys and Establishing Rate Policies,
July 2001 produced by the National Childcare Information Center. Available
When engaging others in the planning process and identifying available resources, be sure to clarify
the roles and responsibilities of each planning partner. Leaders and stakeholders need to decide who
is responsible for each aspect of information gathering. What are the specific roles and responsibilities
of each partner? For example, the state child care office and education agency might coordinate the
process and send out provider surveys, with community stakeholders encouraging community-based
organizations to respond.
Step 3: Identify Available Data
Data on supply and demand exist in a variety of places. Don?t reinvent the wheel; start with any work
that has been conducted by other state groups and systems. For example, state child care offices
or child care resource and referral agencies usually have data on licensed child care centers that
serve school-age children. Keep in mind that Federal Child Care and Development Fund
regulations (45 CFR 98.43) require states to conduct a local market rate survey on the cost of child
care at least every two years. Some states use these required surveys to collect more comprehensive
information (about providers, technical assistance needs, and so on) in addition to information
about payment rates (see Data Resources text box below).5 This data may be a good
starting point for additional collection.
State education agencies and local school districts may be another source of data,
especially for school-sponsored programs. Cities and county agencies may also have data to
?The process of determining existing afterschool services
in South Carolina brought together a range of state
agency supporters, provider groups, and other stakeholders.
Their initial work solidified the need for a statewide
network that could gather and communicate information
on an ongoing basis about the wide variety of afterschool
programs and available resources across the state. The
resulting network, the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance,
continues to build upon the important work begun by the
Department of Social Services and their partners.?
Zelda Quiller Waymer, Executive Director, South Carolina
Afterschool Alliance
share. Finally, state or local intermediary organizations or coalitions, such as a state
affiliate of the National AfterSchool Association (, may have lists of afterschool
programs to contribute.
Connecting State and
Local Data Collection Efforts
Many communities are already beginning the process of collecting supply and demand
data with the collaboration of state entities. State agencies or state networks can help
communities collect and analyze information. Doing so will enhance a community?s
ability to document state trends, differences within and between communities, and
differences within and across the state. Such cooperation will also allow state and local
leaders to more clearly identify best practices.
Data Resources
Many federal agencies and community organizations have collected information that may be useful in
identifying supply and demand for afterschool.| Information on federally mandated child care market rate surveys for many states can be accessed
at| The U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Map Machine
( is an Internet-based mapping utility that profiles SFSP sites by
detailing characteristics both of the census tract in which they exist and of neighboring schools.| In conjunction with the Food Research and Action Center (, the Fair Data 2000 project
has developed a resource center for mapping Census 2000 data for the Summer Food Service
Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). This interactive mapping center was
developed for local groups who need highly detailed (street-level) census information and lack
access to desktop mapping software. The maps can be used to identify neighborhoods and
communities needing these nutrition programs. Visit for
CACFP sites and for Summer Food Service
Program information.| The U.S. Census Bureau makes state-specific data available at
Information is available for each state as well as individual counties covering such demographic information
as population, educational attainment, median monthly income, race/ethnicity, and homeownership
rates.| ?America After 3 PM?, a report from the Afterschool Alliance, used parent surveys from all 50 states,
finding that parents of over 15.3 million children say their children would participate in afterschool
programs if such opportunities were available. Additional information on national and statespecific
demand for availability of afterschool programs is available at http://www.afterschool america_3pm.cfm.
When compiling available data from a range of sources, keep in mind that your definition of
afterschool will affect your data needs (see ?What Do You Mean by ?Afterschool??? on pg. 11).
For example, information is often more difficult to capture on informal care settings, informal
school clubs or groups that do not meet regularly, and faith- and community-based programs.
Using available administrative data from state agencies, while a good place to start, may not
provide a complete picture of afterschool programs if your definition is more inclusive of different
care settings.
Step 4: Collect New Data
Most of the time, estimating the supply and demand for afterschool programs will require collecting at
least some new data. Sometimes, it may be necessary to collect only the supply or demand data. This
section provides guidance and concrete tips for gathering new information. In cases where both types
of data are needed, it is strongly suggested that data collection tools and methodologies for gathering
both supply and demand data be developed simultaneously to avoid any duplication of effort.
Tips for Collecting Supply Data
In almost all instances, surveying afterschool program providers is the best way to collect information
about the supply of care. If information about funding, technical assistance activities, or other
relevant activities is desired, it may also be necessary
to survey other state or community leaders.
Determine who will be surveyed. Again, this goes
back to the goals or purposes for collecting this
data. For example, if the goal is to understand
available licensed slots for afterschool programming
in your state, program directors will be the
desired respondents. If information on funding or
the reliability of future funding is also needed, it
may be necessary to survey state policymakers or
administrators. If specific information for
individual programs in a multi-site initiative is
important, it is probable that directors or
coordinators at each individual site will have to be
surveyed. Depending on what is being asked, the
respondents could be one or all of the following:
program coordinators, site directors, family
child care providers, informal caregivers, community
members, or policymakers.
?It is critically important to ensure you have a representative
and comprehensive group of programs that will
serve as your basis for supply. Developing an accurate
and comprehensive list requires personal engagement at
the regional and community levels. You need to have
contact with individuals or organizations in the major
regions and communities across the state that can help
you determine who provides afterschool programs.
While this is a time-consuming process, it helps build
the network of people you need to enact systems change.?
Debbie Bretag, Director, Illinois Center for Violence Prevention, and Member,
Illinois After-School Initiative Task Force
Create a survey. The stated purpose, project timeline, available resources, data goals, and
uses of the information will determine the questions to be included in the survey. The longer
the survey, the more resources it will take to ensure an adequate response. A quick survey
that only asks basic information can be implemented easily and will require less time to administer
and analyze. If the objective is to paint a more detailed picture of the supply of afterschool
programs, the survey will need to be more comprehensive and will take more time to administer.
Topics to be covered in the survey may include:| Basic program information: Name, address, IRS status (public/nonprofit/for-profit),
mission, years in operation, area served, days and hours of operation;| Population served: age range, number of school-aged children, demographics
(low-income, populations served), enrollment procedures, available slots, and waiting lists;| Staffing: number of staff, volunteers, staff credentials, staff/child ratio, training opportunities
offered, and parent involvement activities;| Funding: annual budget, sources of funding, reliability of each funding source, fundraising
activities, and what funds support;| Other program characteristics: program philosophy, purpose, or approach; technical
assistance or training needs; activities provided; connection to schools; expected
outcomes; program evaluation efforts;
records maintenance; and curricula.
The appendix includes a sample provider survey
that captures the above information as well as
additional questions for those looking to gather
more specific data. State and community leaders
undertaking this work should use the specific
questions from this sample that most accurately
reflect their information needs.
?The funding information collected by the data working
group clarified how different divisions within a single
agency oversee programs with some afterschool components.
In addition, through the process of collecting
funding data, we found that sometimes it?s harder than
you expect to put exact figures on funds spent specifically
for afterschool. For example, programs funded by federal
juvenile justice or Title I dollars may use afterschool as
one program strategy, but it is difficult to determine how
much of those funds support afterschool programming.?
Paula Corrigan-Halpern, Consultant, Illinois Afterschool Partnership
Supply and Demand Surveys
and Other Resources Available from the School-Age
Needs Assessment and Training Project
Based at the University of Georgia, the America Cares for Children and Youth: School-Age Care Needs
Assessment and Training Project helps local communities better understand the supply of and demand
for school-age care and activities. With funding from the Child Care Bureau of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, several needs assessment tools have been developed; these include
procedures for developing county profiles and geo-maps of school-age programs and activities as well as
surveys and focus group protocols to determine program characteristics and staff training needs. Tools
also are available for evaluating the demand for school-age care through surveys and focus groups with
For more information, contact Dr. Christine M. Todd, Department of Child and Family Development, University of Georgia,
Athens, GA 30602-3622, 706.542.4830,
Sending out the Survey
Substantial care and attention should be paid to how the survey will reach respondents. States have
employed a number of strategies to ensure that these surveys reach the right people.| In Alabama, the Program for Rural Services and Research developed and mailed postcards informing
providers of the forthcoming survey. A subsequent mailing that included a computer-readable survey
form was sent to known providers and potential providers (including many faith-based organizations).| In addition to using its own lists for licensed day care providers and food and nutrition program sites,
the South Carolina Department of Social Services obtained mailing lists from other state
agencies and organizations: religious organizations from the Department of Revenue, community
centers from the Department of Parks and Recreation, schools from the Department of Education,
and member organizations of Communities in Schools of South Carolina, Boys and Girls Clubs, the
YMCA, and the YWCA. Before distributing surveys, the agency checked lists for duplication.| In New York City, The Afterschool Corporation (TASC) distributed 9,600 questionnaires for elementary
and middle school students to take home to their parents.| The Illinois After-School Initiative Task Force?s data working group created a Web-based provider
survey to allow respondents to complete forms quickly and easily. However, working group members
found that many providers did not have Internet access or had difficulty completing the survey
online. In an effort to increase the response rate, surveyors mailed, faxed, and emailed surveys to
these providers.
For more information on use of online survey tools, visit This guide from NPowerNY
reviews several available online survey tools for use by nonprofit organizations.
When developing the survey, program providers on the planning team can help identify
sensitive areas and find ways to get the needed data without causing any undue stress
for the respondents. For example, some state-funded program providers may feel uncomfortable
answering questions on topics such as funding sources, quality assessments, or
needed technical assistance if they think their support could be jeopardized. Understanding
these types of sensitivities will also help address issues of confidentiality.
Define the survey mechanism. There are a number of ways to survey afterschool program
providers. These include telephone interviews, mail surveys, and Internet questionnaires. Keep in
mind your audience when developing the
survey mechanism; you may choose to develop
more than one way to reach providers. The
Illinois After-School Initiative Task Force used
online surveys that could be filled out easily
and returned by email response, but found that
they missed a number of providers who lacked
Internet access (see Sending out the Survey
on pg. 17). In Alabama, surveyors provided
respondents with a computer-readable form
that allowed them to easily compile data from
multiple choice questions.
Strive for a sufficient response rate. Good
response rates are also critical to the success of
these efforts. One of the most valuable roles
stakeholders can play is to encourage their
program networks at the state and community
levels to respond to the survey. The key is to
communicate the importance of documenting the supply of afterschool activities and to detail how
the information will be used to support the work of individual programs. Some strategies include:| Making follow-up phone calls. Planning partners can help call or can send reminders to a
subset of respondents to encourage their participation.| Engaging community-based, faith-based, and other grassroots leaders. Include these leaders
in the planning process and have them follow up in their individual communities. Again, this
process can be used as an opportunity to engage new partners.| Offering financial incentives. Sometimes, respondents are offered a small financial reward
for responding to a survey (e.g., $10 for each response).
?The program data that came from our provider
survey gave us information, collected for the first
time, about the type of activities that were offered
for afterschool and some sense of the broad types
of funding providers used to offer their programs.
The information can provide guidance about best
practices and help others understand what it takes
in terms of financial and other resources to run
quality afterschool programs.?
Doris Garrett, Illinois Department of Human Services
Tips for Collecting Demand Data
Assessing the demand for afterschool programming can be a difficult task because different
approaches may have to be employed to collect information on the large numbers of families
that need or would use afterschool care. The goal here is to produce estimates that are sound and
reliable. Two common approaches, often used in concert, include:| Survey stakeholders about demand for afterschool activities in individual communities.
Parents, community members, lawmakers, school administrators, and others can be
surveyed about their perceptions on the need for afterschool programs. As was the case
with supply surveys, demand data instruments can take a variety of forms, including questionnaires,
interviews, and focus groups. When deciding which stakeholders to survey or
interview, keep in mind that those who participate will determine the kind of information
that is produced?information from parents will produce results that differ from those of
educators. Remember that community members or parents may not be fully knowledgeable
about afterschool programs and their benefits. Also important to consider are the
cultural context of the community and any possible language barriers.| Use available data to derive estimates.Another approach is to look at available state or local
data, such as program waiting lists, take-up/enrollment rates, and community needs assessment
surveys, to inform estimates.
Some balance of these two approaches may be necessary in order to arrive at good estimates. No matter
what your approach, keep the following principles in mind when developing a process to
estimate demand:
Clearly define the target population. Be clear
about what information is needed. Is information
needed for all children? Children with working
parents? Children at a particular percentage of
the poverty line?
Establish what is meant by ?demand.? The planning
group must also decide how to define
?demand? for survey purposes. One possibility
is a communicated need from parents and families.
Another is a documented lack of programs
in a particular neighborhood.
Be careful about double-counting children who may be in multiple programs. In the case
of children who attend more than one program, particularly drop-in or team-centered
activities, it is difficult but important not to double-count.
Determine if existing programs are at full capacity. Several evaluations of afterschool programs
have indicated that children often attend programs infrequently or for short periods of time. This
may be an important consideration for communities that are trying to determine if the current
network of afterschool programs is capable of serving additional children.
Understand how community characteristics influence take-up rates and participation.
Communities and states differ in philosophies and approaches to child care and education.
Understanding the unique characteristics of each community to be surveyed will ensure that estimates
are as accurate as possible. For example, in some communities there is a general belief that
children are best served in the home and not in formal programs or care settings. To the extent
these beliefs are held community-wide, they will influence demand for programs.
Consider ways to foster a sufficient response rate. Due to competing demands, it is often difficult
to elicit a sufficient survey response rate among parents and other stakeholders. Leaders will need
to determine what response rate is needed to allow responses to be generalized to larger communities.
To ensure data are representative, consider using small representative samples of larger populations,
pursuing aggressive follow-up with non-respondents, or offering incentives for response. If
resources are available, leaders may also consider conducting a small, separate study to compare
respondents and non-respondents, using statistical adjustments to improve reliability of
Don?t allow estimating demand to stall other progress. While it is important to create an ongoing
information base and use the data to conduct continuing needs assessments, demand for highquality
extra learning opportunities before school, afterschool, on weekends, and in the summer
is very high in almost every geographical area, and it is important not to hamper progress
while waiting for the results of supply and demand analysis. Building community support while
simultaneously identifying need is one strategy to avoid this pitfall.
Step 5: Analyzing and Using the Data
While a particular time-limited initiative may have been the impetus for the data collection, keep
in mind that once the information is compiled it may have many more uses. When shared
broadly, supply and demand data can be used for the following purposes:| Identifying and addressing gaps in services, including where programs are and are not
available. Data can also help show who uses the services in particular neighborhoods.
21| Planning investments by allowing policymakers and program leaders to target resources to
areas of highest need.| Promoting the coordination of public and private resources. The information that has been
collected may provide policymakers with the ability to leverage new dollars that can expand
program capacity.| Creating databases to help match parents and providers. This could be an expansion to an existing
resource and referral capability or the beginning of a new resource to meet this need.| Determining funding needs for programs and systems of care. If the data include information
on the cost of various programs, this can be used to develop cost estimates for expansion of programs
or to estimate the fiscal needs for the afterschool infrastructure (e.g., training and technical
assistance, quality standards).| Understanding the needs and knowledge of parents regarding the quality and availability of
programs. Based on survey results, communities can develop strategies to help parents better
understand their options and how to choose quality afterschool opportunities for their children.| Building public awareness. Solid data are the backbone of effective public awareness campaigns. By
sharing supply and demand data broadly, public awareness efforts can better demonstrate the need
for programs and services.
Lessons Learned
Whether by mandate or as part of an effort to build a statewide or community-wide system of care,
many states and cities are grappling with how to best measure the supply of and demand for afterschool
programming. This tool builds on the experiences of those communities and states that have
already undertaken this process, providing a framework and practical guidance for planning and
implementing a supply and demand analysis.
The following lessons learned are provided by supply and demand pioneers.
Have a solid plan for using the data. Being clear from the outset about how the data will be used
is a key to success. This clarity will help ensure that, from planning to decision-making, the
needed information will be available.
Involve a range of partners. Partnerships are a key to successfully reaching the full range of
providers and truly understanding the afterschool landscape. Engaging key partners from the
beginning also nurtures relationships that can help implement new programs and policies once
the analysis is complete.
Share the data widely. Once the supply and demand data are available, share them widely
with policymakers, providers, and state and community organizations. These data can
help inform the decisions of many key partners.
Collect supply and demand data as a step toward building a system of afterschool care. While
it is critical to fulfill the immediate goal of collecting these data, it is also important to keep in
mind how this information can be used to help build a cohesive system of care for school-age
children?usually the prime objective of this effort.
Additional Resources
Child Care Demand and Supply Under CALWORKS: The Early Impacts of Welfare Reform for
California?s Children, 1998-2000, PACE, October 2002.
Key Findings, America After 3 PM: A Household Survey on America After 3 PM. The Afterschool
Alliance, 2004. Available at
Meeting the Challenge: Financing Out-of-School Time Programming in Boston and Massachusetts,
Parents United for Childcare, March 2001.
The Illinois After-School Initiative Task Force Report,Illinois Center for Violence Prevention on behalf
of the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois State Board of Education, 2002.
Understanding Child Care Demand and Supply Issues: New Lessons from Los Angeles,policy brief,
PACE, June 2001. Available
For additional information on state legislation pertinent to afterschool programs, visit the National
Conference of State Legislatures searchable database at
This tool was prepared by Elisabeth Wright, Sharon Deich, and Theresa Clarke of the Afterschool
Investments Project. Funded by the Child Care Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, the Afterschool Investments Project is a joint initiative of The Finance Project and
the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. For more information about the
project, visit or contact The Finance Project at 202.587.1000 or by email
The authors would like to thank the many individuals who reviewed and contributed to this report.
Afterschool Investments staff, including Heather Padgette, Michelle Jones, Lucinda Fickel, and
Dionne Dobbins provided feedback on content and structure. Outside reviewers?including Lucy
Friedman of The Afterschool Corporation, Elizabeth Reisner of Policy Studies Associates, Christine
Todd of the University of Georgia, Paula Corrigan-Halpern and Debbie Bretag of The Illinois Center
for Violence Prevention, Janet Bush of the Montana Child Care Resource and Referral Network, and
Zelda Waymer of the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance?helped structure the information for use by
policymakers and leaders in the field.
Appendix: Sample Provider Survey Instrument
This appendix contains a compilation of questions adapted from several supply and demand
surveys. This survey can be used in its entirety or can be adapted to meet more specific targets. For
instance, you may choose to use portions of the survey or to add questions on a particular topic that
is not covered. When choosing your data elements, keep in mind the cardinal rule of data collection?
only collect what you are going to use.
Basic Information
1. Name of program_____________________________________________________________________
2. Name of person completing survey _____________________________________________________
3. Title or role of person completing survey ________________________________________________
4. Name of director/coordinator of program (if not named above)
5. Mailing address:
Street ______________________________________________________________________________
City, state, zip _______________________________________________________________________
6. Phone (______)________________________________________
7. Fax (_______)__________________________________________
8. Email address ________________________________________________________________________
9. Website address (if applicable) _________________________________________________________
10. Name and type of administering agency (e.g., 501(c)(3), public) _____________________________
11. Number of sites _____________________________________________________________________
12. Start date of program (month if known and year)________________________________________
13. Area served (neighborhood, community, school(s))
Children and Youth
1. How does your program select children/youth (in other words, how are
children/youth prioritized)? Check all that apply.
_____ Income requirement (e.g., low-income children/youth)
_____ Membership requirement
_____ Formal enrollment process (If this line is checked, please be sure to
answer questions 2 and 3 in this section.)
_____ All/most children/youth attend on a mandatory basis
_____ All/most children/youth attend on a voluntary basis
2. How many children/youth are enrolled currently (total number)? ____________________________
3. Is enrollment for the program full? ____ Yes ____ No
If yes, can you expand to offer additional slots? ____ Yes ____ No
4. How many children/youth are served?
_____ Elementary age (grades K-5)
_____ Middle school age (grades 6-8)
_____ High school age (grades 9-12)
_____ Total
5. How many children/youth attend per day, on average?
_____ Elementary
_____ Middle school
_____ High school
_____ Total
1. How many total staff does the program have (part-time, full-time, paid, volunteer)? ____
How many part-time staff members? ________________________
How many full-time staff members? ________________________
How many paid staff members? ________________________
How many volunteers? ________________________
2. What is the average adult/child or youth ratio in your program on a daily basis?
_____ 1:5
_____ 1:10
_____ 1:15
_____ 1:20
_____ 1:25 or more
1. What are the program?s funding sources? Check all that apply. If you check ?federal
government? or ?state government,? please also identify specific funding sources. If you check
?local government,? please write in names of specific sources. [Survey administrators: Replace
general descriptions of state government sources in parentheses with names of sources specific to
your state.]
_____ Federal government (these sources may be administered by the state)
_____ Child Care & Development Fund
_____ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
_____ 21st Century Community Learning Centers
_____ Title I schoolwide dollars
_____ Title I Supplemental Services
_____ Workforce Investment Act
_____ Corporation for National and Community Service
_____ Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention
_____ U.S. Department of Labor
_____ U.S. Department of Agriculture (cooperative extension, afterschool
snack, or supper program)
_____ Other ___________________________________________________________________________
_____ State government
_____ (state department of education programs)
_____ (state department of human/social services programs)
_____ (governor?s initiatives/programs)
_____ Other ___________________________________________________________________________
_____ Local government (e.g., libraries, parks and recreation, county government)
_____ Private foundation(s)
_____ Business
_____ Public donation/contribution
_____ Student/parent fees
_____ Other
2. What is your annual budget? $____________________________________________________________
Program Structure and Organization
1. What type of organization houses and runs the program (e.g., community organization; faithbased
organization; school; college or university; other)? ______________________________________
2. When during the year does the program operate? Please check only one.
_____ Year round
_____ School year
_____ Less than full school year, more than six weeks
_____ Less than six weeks
_____ Other (please specify) __________________________________________________________
3. When during the week does the program operate? Check the days that apply
and fill in the hours of operation.
_____ Monday Hours: _________
_____ Tuesday Hours: _________
_____ Wednesday Hours: _________
_____ Thursday Hours: _________
_____ Friday Hours: _________
_____ Saturday Hours: _________
_____ Sunday Hours: _________
4. What are the program components? Check all that apply.
_____ Academic enrichment (curriculum-driven)
_____ Homework help
_____ Tutoring
_____ Cultural enrichment
_____ Arts and crafts
_____ Recreation/sports
_____ Dance
_____ Music
_____ Theater/drama
_____ Technology/video
_____ Mentoring
_____ Family life education/teen pregnancy prevention
_____ Drug/alcohol/tobacco prevention
_____ Community service
_____ Mental wellness/counseling
_____ Parental involvement
_____ Religious/spiritual education
_____ Life skills
_____ Violence prevention
_____ Health/nutrition education
_____ Leadership skills
_____ Career
_____ College preparation
_____ Other _______________________________________________________________________
5. Is the program licensed?
_____ Yes
_____ No
If yes, by which agency? _______________________________________________________________
Additional Sample Survey Questions
(for more extensive surveys)
Children and Youth
What groups of children are served? Check all that apply.
_____ Academically at-risk
_____ Special education students
_____ Special needs (e.g., physical disability, hearing impairment, asthma)
_____ Specific ethnic group
_____ Gifted and talented
_____ English language learners
_____ Low-income children and youth
_____ Foster children
_____ Homeless children
_____ Alternatively educated youth
_____ Dropouts
_____ Adjudicated youth
_____ Other ________________________________________________________________________
[For programs using volunteers] Your volunteers are from which groups? Check all that apply.
_____ Retired teachers
_____ High school students
_____ College students
_____ Parents
_____ Community members
_____ Other ________________________________________________________________________
What are the program?s requirements for staff? Check all that apply.
_____ Teaching certificate
_____ High school diploma
_____ Associate?s degree
_____ Bachelor?s degree
_____ Master?s degree
_____ Reflect ethnicity of children/youth
_____ Prior experience working with children/youth
_____ Community resident
_____ Other __________________________________________________________________________
Number or percentage of staff turnover per year (approximate) ________________________________
Average staff wage $_______ /hour
Does the program offer training? ____Yes ____ No If yes, how often? ________________________
Do staff receive training elsewhere? Name professional development/training
opportunities and requirements. ____________________________________________________________
[For use after Question 1 in Funding section of basic survey] What is the largest source of funding
from the list of checked funding sources? If two or more sources are tied for largest, please list both
or all. ____________________________________________________________________________________
How often must you reapply for your largest source(s) of funds? ________________________________
Does your program charge parent fees? ____ Yes ____ No
If yes, how are fees assessed? Check all that apply.
______ Sliding fee scale
______ One-time payment amount: $ ________
______ Payment every ___ weeks in the amount of $ ______
______ Other (Please describe)
Program Structure and Organization
Does your program operate during school holidays? ____ Yes ____ No
If the program is school-based, please name all school(s) and district(s) served.
If the program is not school-based, does the program have a partnership with a school or
schools? ____ Yes ____ No
If yes, which one(s)? Please list school(s) and district(s). [If the state has a strong county-based
system, you can ask which county in addition to or instead of which district.]
Please check any of the following entities with which your program has a partnership
(in terms of services provided or funding). Check all that apply.
_____ Community-based organization
_____ Faith-based organization
_____ College/university
_____ Military organization
_____ Hospital or health center
_____ Foundation
_____ Local business
_____ Business group
_____ Other __________________________________________________________________________
What is/are the purpose(s) of the program? Check all that apply.
_____ Provide recreation
_____ Improve academic skills
_____ Provide cultural enrichment
_____ Provide adult supervision while parents are working
_____ Prevent risky behavior
_____ Other __________________________________________________________________________
Of the above, what is the most important purpose as defined in your mission?
Are the following expected outcomes for your program? Check all that apply.
_____ Increased academic achievement
_____ Increased school attendance
_____ Reduced juvenile crime
_____ Increased graduation rate
_____ Increased positive attitude toward school
_____ Increased positive future aspirations
_____ Reduced risky behaviors
_____ Improved social skills
_____ Increased positive peer relationships
_____ Improved relationships between youth and adults
_____ Improved career skills
_____ Enhanced spiritual development
_____ Other ____________________________________________________________
Is the program formally evaluated?
_____ Yes
_____ No
Are funds appropriated in the program?s budget to conduct periodic program evaluations?
_____ Yes
_____ No
What data are gathered to determine effectiveness of program? Check all that apply.
_____ Attendance records (program)
_____ Attendance records (school)
_____ Test scores
_____ Grades
_____ Disciplinary/behavioral incidents
_____ Teacher reports
_____ Satisfaction questionnaires
_____ Truancy data
_____ Overall program participation rates
_____ High school graduation data
_____ Information on what happens post-high school
_____ Parent surveys
_____ School administrator surveys
_____ Other _________________________________________________________________________
Please select the one sentence that best describes the structure of your program. We recognize that
elements of two or more of the following descriptions may match your program, but we ask that
you select only one.
_____ The program generally follows a specific schedule that includes multiple activities that all
children/youth attend.
_____ All children/youth participate in an academic enrichment activity but can also select from
a variety of activities based on individual interest or need.
_____ Participants select one or more activities in which to be involved based on their interest
and/or need. There are no required elements in which all children/youth must participate.
_____ The program focuses on a particular area or topic. Supplementary activities are available,
but the core program is centered on a particular theme.
Does the program use a particular model or curriculum?
_____ Yes
_____ No
Is the program designed to meet state academic standards?
_____ Yes
_____ No
What facilities and resources are available? Check all that apply.
_____ Gym
_____ Computer lab
_____ Study area
_____ Other ________________________________________________________________________
Does the program provide transportation?
_____ Yes
_____ No
What are your program needs? Please take as much space as needed, and be specific?what types
of training, when, and for whom; what types of technical assistance (on program quality, evaluation,
fundraising, and so forth); and what types of materials.

Contact us:
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phone 202 628 4200
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phone 202 624 5300
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Child Care Bureau