Moving to Vegas in 2001, I never thought that this would be a place that I would be thinking about childcare and the importance of finding a right babysitter, choosing the perfect fit of a daycare and of course, where does my child go to school but here I am, in a city with some really close friends who have children in all stages. 

As I got thinking about childcare and the action needed to find something that suits the parent’s schedule, the characteristics of the children and has the charisma to make both parents and children feel comfortable, I began to think about the obstacles that Las Vegas faces with childcare. 

Las Vegas is a city that can have a traffic jam at five in the morning.  The biggest industry here is customer service. Whether it is gambling, night life, going to a show, almost everyone here works in the industry and their hours are the craziest out of any other profession.  With that said, what do their children do after school?  This got me really thinking about afterschool programs and what Las Vegas is doing to better create programs for those children who would prosper from such programs. 

One change that the city did came in 2010 when the revised their Safekey program to get more involved in afterschool programs.  Here is the description from the City of Las Vegas homepage.

            *Safekey is a before and/or after school recreational enrichment program designed for children, age 5-11 attending kindergarten through fifth grades at the Safekey elementary school sites. The program follows the Clark County School District (CCSD) calendar and operates only on days that school is in session. Daily and weekly scheduled activities include nutrition and physical fitness, arts and crafts, music and drama, games, special events, homework assistance, and a nutritional afternoon snack. For an additional fee, special program days may be offered at some Safekey sites on CCSD staff development days or during parent/teacher conference days when school is on a half-day schedule. If your child attends a magnet school and you wish your child to attend his/her neighborhood school you must contact the program coordinator for assistance.

             The city of Las Vegas Safekey program is proud to partner with the Southern Nevada Health District to include the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) Kids Club as a component of its services. The CATCH program is designed to promote behaviors that assist in developing and maintaining good health in school-age children. This component of Safekey helps support the Mayor’s Healthy Lifestyle Initiative, which encourages Las Vegas residents to Get Smart, Get Up and Get Out to improve diet, nutrition and physical fitness. Participant s will be involved, on a daily basis, in a variety of enjoyable physical activities, crafts, or educational topics such as nutrition, personal safety and positive choices, all with an emphasis on promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors. Children will be given many opportunities to participate and practice their skills. 

I also researched some of the statistics to see how when in 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act reauthorized the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Initiative.  This moved the administration of grants from the U.S. Department of Education to the State Education Agencies.

This chart gives an idea of how the funds have grown for after school programs.  More information can be found at afterschoolalliance.com.

 

Funding History, 21st CCLC
Fiscal Year Amount Appropriated Amount Authorized in No Child Left Behind Act
1998 $40 million n/a
1999 $200 million n/a
2000 $453 million n/a
2001 $846 million $1 billion
2002 $1 billion $1.25 billion
2003 $993.5 million $1.5 billion
2004 $991 million $1.75 billion
2005 $991 million $2 billion
2006 $981 million $2.25 billion
2007 $981 million $2.5 billion
2008 $1.08 billion $2.5 billion
2009 $1.13 billion $2.5 billion
2010 $1.16 billion $2.5 billion
2011 $1.154 billion $2.5 billion
2012 $1.152 billion $2.5 billion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I understand that many of you don’t want to think about childcare, or the value in an afterschool program, but as my friend LaVonne says from her experience working for the afterschool program in Adams-Friendship, WI, “it makes a world of a difference for any child because it isn’t school, but the education is just as great, if not more for a child who has nowhere else to go.”