Community programs for youth have been a national concern at least episodically since the New Deal, when the National Youth Administration was a significant star in the constellation of agencies formed to confront the ravages of the Great Depression. The New Frontier and the Great Society featured a renewed interest in the subject, as part of the 1960s War on Poverty, through such programs as the Neighborhood Youth Corps, Upward Bound, and VISTA.
“After-school programs” has become the current operative language among federal, state, and local policy makers and foundations. The new federally funded programs that began appearing about 1997 are based largely in schools, staffed by school-hired personnel, and dedicated heavily to helping improve children’s academic performance. Most of the new funding is supporting programs in elementary schools, with some in middle schools. Almost none of the new focus is at the high school level, although there was also a new, smaller infusion of funding for community programs to assist lower-income youth in gaining entry to the labor market. The new government funding was accompanied by some increased support from