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Draft Version: This profile has not yet received feedback from evaluators or program staff.
|Overview||The Cooperative Extension Service's (CES) Youth-at-Risk initiative started or provided assistance to numerous school-age child care (SACC) programs across the nation. The programs aim to reduce problem behaviors among the youth they serve, as well as foster positive development. Programs are located in high-risk communities nationwide and strive to provide high quality supervised attention from caring adults during out-of-school time.|
|Start Date||May 1988 (CES' national Youth-at-Risk initiative)|
|Location||urban, suburban, rural|
|Participants||preschool through high school students|
|Number of Sites/Grantees||100 programs|
|Components||CES provides training and technical assistance to school-age child care providers whose programs are supported by CES. CES personnel conduct site visits to the participating programs, holding monthly meetings, formal trainings, as well as providing curriculum kits, supplies, and equipment. The SACC programs themselves are structured as recreation-based programs involving youth of different ages, with opportunities to work and play under the supervision of caring adults. Programs are meant to be flexible enough to provide children with comfortable and private spaces for individual activities such as reading, but also provide space and opportunities for larger group activities such as sports and drama.|
|Funding Level||$7.5 million in federal funds in FY 1991, $10 million per year in federal funds in FYs 1992 and 1993, $3.5 million from the DeWitt Wallace Reader's Digest Fund, $100,000 per year from the National 4-H Council, $5.926 million over three years from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, part of which was used to provide training and technical assistance to Youth-at-Risk initiative SACC centers.|
|Funding Sources||Federal government through the Extension Service-United States Department of Agriculture Youth-at-Risk national initiative, DeWitt Wallace Reader's Digest Fund, National 4-H Council, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the private sector.|
|Other||The Federal Cooperative Extension Service is a program run through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES). Its Youth-at-Risk initiative is no longer one of the CES' designated national initiatives. Instead, CES now maintains the “Extension cares ... for America's Children and Youth” initiative.|
|Overview||The evaluation was conducted to determine whether the CES-supported SACC programs have had positive impacts on children. More specifically, the evaluation sought to determine whether any such positive impacts were dramatic enough for independent third parties such as teachers or principals to have noticed. The study examined the program's impacts on children's prosocial behaviors, problem behaviors, academic achievement, involvement in school, grade retention, special education placement, and parental involvement.|
|Evaluators||Jill Steinberg and Dave Riley, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension and Chris Todd, University of Illinois/Extension|
|Evaluations Profiled||Preventing Problem Behaviors and Raising Academic Performance in the Nation's Youth: The Impacts of 71 School Age Child Care Programs Supported by the CES Youth-at-Risk Initiative|
|Report Availability||Steinberg, J., Riley, D., & Todd, C. (1993). Preventing problem behaviors and raising academic performance in the nation's youth: The impacts of 71 school age child care programs supported by the CES Youth-at-Risk initiative. Madison, WI and Champaign, IL: the University of Wisconsin Center for Action on the Family and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.|
Human Development and Family Studies
School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin
1430 Linden Dr., Bldg. 52A
Madison, WI 53706
|Program||National 4-H Headquarters
Families, 4-H & Nutrition
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-2225
|Profile Updated||January 20, 2003|
Evaluation: Preventing Problem Behaviors and Raising Academic Performance in the Nation's Youth: The Impacts of 71 School Age Child Care Programs Supported by the CES Youth-at-Risk Initiative
|Evaluation Purpose||To determine if Cooperative Extension Service (CES) supported school-age child care (SACC) programs have had positive impacts on youth participants in the following three impact areas: (1) increases in prosocial behaviors, (2) reduction of problem behaviors, (3) improvement in academic achievement and involvement in school.|
|Evaluation Design||Non-Experimental: Survey data were collected from eight states, and 71 SACC programs, which agreed to be part of the evaluation. In addition, data were collected from school principals and teachers associated with children in the programs.|
|Data Collection Methods||Surveys/Questionnaires: Seventy-one SACC staff, 42 public school teachers, and 29 public school principals responded to a survey designed to assess the impacts of the CES-supported SACC programs on the children and youth who participate in them. Staff, teachers, and principals each responded to a different subset of the total number of questions asked, in recognition that some groups may be better able to comment on some domains than others and in an effort to keep the surveys short. Each group of survey respondents (staff, teachers, and principals) answered questions regarding impacts in three major impact areas (increases in prosocial behaviors, reductions in problem behaviors, and academic improvement). All questions were framed to elicit respondents' perceptions of whether there were impacts on students because of their participation in the program specifically. Evaluators posit that the surveys' recognition of only those aspects of student growth and change directly attributable to the program may have lead to a tendency for respondents to provide conservative estimates of potential program impacts.|
|Data Collection Timeframe||unknown|
|Activity Implementation||The evaluated programs were recreation-based, multi-age programs that provided the opportunity for young people to work and play alongside caring adults and other young people.
Eighty percent of programs provided one-on-one counseling to program participants concerning difficulties the children were having at school or home.
|Program Context/Infrastructure||CES helped start 62% of the programs included in the evaluation and directly operates 75% of the programs in the evaluation.
Fifty-nine percent of the programs included in the evaluation reported hosting 4-H clubs and activities.
Half of the evaluated programs were in their first year of operation. Some, however, had been running for as long as eight or nine years.
Challenges of operating the SACC program included inadequate or shared space, transportation, and a lack of financial resources and supplies.
According to the evaluators, good SACC programs provide soft spaces such as pillows, couches, or rugs for solitary activities like reading. They also provide places for group activities such as drama and sports.
|Recruitment/Participation||The smallest of the SACC programs included in the evaluation served six on a typical day while the largest served 62. Approximately a quarter of programs served 15 or fewer children, while a similar proportion of programs served over 45 children.
One in eight programs served preschoolers in addition to school-age children. Eight programs served teenagers along with school-age children.
Four-hundred-thirty-one children received one-on-one counseling from SACC program staff regarding difficulties at school or at home.
|Staffing/Training||Nearly half (42%)of the surveyed SACC staff were in their first year with a SACC program. One quarter had been in the field for two-three years while the remaining 33% had been in the field for four or more years.
Eighty-three percent of the surveyed SACC staff had no previous contact with CES before their current employment.
Eighty-seven percent of the surveyed SACC staff had taken at least one semester-length course in child development. Half had a two- or four-year post-secondary degree; 9% had post-graduate education.
Ninety-four percent of the surveyed SACC staff were female.
The SACC teachers ranged in age from 18 to 62, with a quarter over age 40.
Seventy-two percent of programs had two to five paid staff members, with only a few employing seven to ten workers. About one in eight programs only employed a single staff member. Twenty percent of programs reported using adult volunteers.
|Academic||Sixty-six percent of surveyed SACC staff said that they knew of a child who had developed a recreational interest in reading as a result of the SACC program. In all, 301 children were reported to have developed such an interest.
More than three-quarters of surveyed SACC staff believed that at least some of the children in their program had improved their school performance as a result of the SACC program. They listed 296 children for whom they believed this to be true.
Forty-five percent of the surveyed principals were aware of children—52 children in all—who were completing more or better quality homework assignments because of their participation in the program. Fourteen percent of surveyed classroom teachers indicated that they had such children in their classes.
More than a quarter of the surveyed principals knew of children whose school attendance improved because of their participation in the program.
Nineteen percent of surveyed classroom teachers reported that they had children in the SACC program who were showing improved grades because of the program.
The surveyed principals collectively could name five children who avoided grade retention because of their participation in a SACC program and three children who avoided placement in special education classes for the next year due to the program.
|Family||Twenty-eight percent of the surveyed principals noted that they had parents whose involvement in the school had increased as a result of their child's participation in the SACC program. The principals collectively listed 40 such parents.|
|Youth Development||Ninety-three percent of surveyed SACC staff responded that there were shy children in their program who had become more outgoing and skilled at joining group activities as a result of the program. The SACC staff listed a total of 496 children who had been helped in this way.
Eighty-three percent of surveyed SACC staff indicated that some children in their program who had been generally rejected by peers learned how to make new friends because of the program. The SACC staff listed a total of 239 children for whom this was the case.
Eighty-six percent of surveyed SACC staff could name at least one child who had learned to exercise more leadership (defined in the survey as “taking more responsibility for planning and running the program and its activities”) through program participation. In fact, 547 children were named who had made this improvement.
Ninety-six percent of the surveyed SACC staff felt that children in their program had developed new interests through the program that they would not otherwise have developed, and cited a total of 779 children for whom they believed this to be true.
Eighty-nine percent of the surveyed SACC staff reported that at least one child in their program was more cooperative with adults as a result of the program. Five-hundred-forty-seven children in total were listed by SACC staff as having improved in this area. Forty-five percent of principals and almost a third of classroom teachers similarly identified that some SACC participants were more cooperative with teachers as a result of the program.
Ninety-two percent of surveyed SACC staff reported that at least some of the children in their program had learned to handle conflicts by talking or negotiating more often, instead of just hitting and fighting. Five-hundred-six children in total were said to fight less as a result of the SACC programs.
Thirty-eight percent of principals and 24% of classroom teachers reported that they had students who were demonstrating fewer behavior problems at school due to their participation in the program.
Over a quarter of surveyed principals indicated that there was less vandalism in the school as a result of the SACC program.