If you build it, will they come? Estimating unmet demand for after-school programs in America’s distressed cities
Telephone-survey data were gathered from parents and youth in five of
America’s largest and most distressed cities to estimate unmet demand for
after-school programs. Unmet demand was conceptualized as a function of low utilization and dissatisfaction with one’s current arrangement; furthermore, the authors argue that dissatisfaction must stem from something that can be addressed through changes in policy or programs. Large numbers of parents of children who infrequently use after-school programs were found to indicate that they would increase utilization if there were improvements in the quality, access, or types of programming. However, large numbers of parents whose children do not participate or participate infrequently in after-school programs were also found to express satisfaction with their arrangement and indicated that they do not wish to change it. Expanding services with the assumption that children from these families will participate may be misguided.