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Out-of-School Program Quality Crucial for Adolescents

Beyond School is taking a break, but will return the week of Labor Day. In the meantime, check out this report from Child Trends on adolescents and out-of-school time.

Perhaps not surprisingly, study authors Kristin Anderson Moore and Kathleen Hamilton find that quality is critical for after-school programs to have strong positive effects on adolescent development. To gauge quality, the researchers looked at OST programs' support for youth in forming positive relationships and making decisions, their encouragement of learning, and their ability to offer safe environments.

The researchers determined that while attending high-quality programs often benefits 12- to 17-year-olds by reducing risk-taking behavior and improving their school and social skills, taking part in low-quality programs doesn't appear to help teens any more than skipping OST offerings all together.

Moore and Hamilton based their findings on data from the Every Child Every Promise Study conducted in 2005. Two thousand youths ages 12 to 17 were among those interviewed for the Every Child study.

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