Attrition in Adolescent After-School Programs: Addressing the Concern via Interviews with Program Dropouts
AbstractThe purpose of this paper is to address the challenges of attrition in adolescent, voluntary after-school programs (ASPs). Studies show that the after-school hours are a time of elevated juvenile delinquency. Since 1998 there has been a surge in the number of ASPs throughout the United States. Despite this surge, attrition is a major concern and threat to ASPs. Moreover, youth who drop out are rarely asked about their reasons for not attending. Seventy middle school-aged individuals who were selected to participate in the Baltimore County Middle School After-School Collaboration Project (BCAP) but eventually dropped out are interviewed for this study. Six primary reasons for non-attendance including: a lack of program fidelity, participation in non-family-related after-school activities, participation in family-related after-school activities, program length, boredom, and a lack of quality academic help are identified. The findings indicate a need for programming that is faithful, flexible, and narrow in terms of activities offered.
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