The Accordion Effect: Is Quality in Afterschool Getting the Squeeze?

Dana Fusco, Anne Lawrence, Susan Matloff-Nieves, Esteban Ramos


Community-based afterschool programs remain places that support youth development. However, in most places quality is getting the squeeze, making it more difficult to meet the growing needs of youth and parents. This article describes the impact of increased external and regulatory pressures that have taken hold at a time of reduced financial and social capital. In this article, we name the factors that are creating what we call The Accordion Effect and describe its ‘squeezing’ impact on quality programming. We conclude with recommendations for reclaiming quality youth work, a practice that we believe must remain holistic and emergent.

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