As the school year starts up again, more parents are concerned with the hours after school than with school itself, according to a survey commissioned by a national nonprofit coalition of more than 2,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and former victims of crime. The group is called Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. Their research indicates that the hours between when the last school bell rings and 6 pm are the peak hours for kids to commit a crime, to be in a car crash, to have sex, to engage in prostitution, to smoke, to drink, or to use drugs. This is also the peak time for innocent kids to be the victims of crime.
Parents are right to be concerned. Each day in the U.S., more than 10 million children are home alone after school, or hanging out at shopping malls (or elsewhere) without supervision.
Whether it is a parent home in the afternoon, or a quality after-school program, focusing on these key hours is an important way to invest in our children and in our society. Kids after-school deserve our care, our attention, and our support. Our youth will require our time, our attention, and our money one way or the other. How much better to choose how we will make this investment, rather than to wait until it is decided for us!