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Boxer To Co-Chair Senate Afterschool Caucus

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is replacing Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) as a co-chair of the Senate's Afterschool Caucus.

Boxer was one of the original founders of the caucus in 2005, which advocates for increased funding for afterschool programs. The bipartisan caucus also works to raise awareness of the need for afterschool care and enrichment at the federal level. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) will continue to serve as the Senate group's other co-chair in the 112th Congress. A similar bipartisan caucus exists in the House.

"As co-chair of the Afterschool Caucus, I will keep fighting to increase funding for vital afterschool programs because too many children still come home to empty houses in the afternoon and too many families cannot afford to pay for afterschool care," Boxer said in a statement.

Boxer, a senator since 1993, helped establish the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program, which supports afterschool programs that provide academic support for at-risk youths. Boxer was also an author of the afterschool funding portion of the No Child Left Behind Act.

"This is a crucial time for afterschool programs, as our country fights its way out of an economic crisis and begins the hard task of reducing our deficit," Dodd said in a statement regarding his replacement. Dodd retired in December after a 30-year congressional career. "I'm confident that Senator Boxer will continue her incredible work on this important issue as the next co-chair of the Afterschool Caucus."

As of 2009, the Afterschool Alliance reported that the federal government contributed 11 percent to the cost of afterschool programs. Twenty-nine percent of children in these programs are low-income and in need of federal aid, the Alliance said.

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