§ 16-88-2. Findings.
(a) The general assembly hereby finds that participating in high quality after school and summer learning programs provides children and youth needed resources to succeed in school and in life.
(b) The general assembly also finds that in 2005, seventy-four percent (74%) of children ages six (6) to seventeen (17) in Rhode Island had all parents in the workforce, higher than the U.S. average of sixty-eight percent (68%). On school days, the hours between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. are the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drug, alcohol, cigarettes and sex. Differences in summer learning accounted for sixty-five percent (65%) of the gap in reading scores between upper-income students who went to four (4) year colleges and low-income high-school dropouts. After school programs have been shown to support local schools by providing children and youth with opportunities to engage in hands-on activities that hold students' interests and develop their skills and a sense of competence.
(c) The general assembly also finds that the need for after school and summer learning programs is demonstrated by the Rhode Island department of education grant competition for after school and summer learning programs funding. In each of the competitions; almost double the money has been requested than was available for funding.
(d) Furthermore, the general assembly finds that there is an existing infrastructure of after school and summer learning programs in Rhode Island serving school age children from kindergarten to 12th grade that is supported through state and federal investments in child care, 21st century community learning centers program, child opportunity zones, community-based organizations and public schools. It is the intent of the general assembly to support a system of publicly-funded, high quality after school and summer learning programs that are operated through a diverse delivery network, including child care, 21st century community learning centers program, child opportunity zones, community-based organizations and public districts.
(e) By enacting this law, the general assembly acknowledges the need to adequately prepare all children to succeed in school and life by providing access to publicly-funded high quality after school and summer learning programs.
(P.L. 2009, ch. 87, § 1; P.L. 2009, ch. 93, § 1.)