PETITION: Please expand access to afterschool programs in Cambridge! (March 2023)
THE PROBLEM: There aren't sufficient afterschool spots for approximately half of the the children whose families who want one in Cambridge. 

THE NUMBERS:  For the 2022-23 school year, 1378 children applied for a spot in DHSP Community Schools. There are only 710 spots. There are just ~170 other spots in "DHSP childcare." (See latest update from DHSP in There are an another approximately 350 spots in community-based programs run by non-profits. This scarcity has persisted for many years, with DHSP failing to expand the number of spots, mainly due to recruitment challenges.

For the Fall 2023 lottery, OUR REQUESTS ARE:

1. DHSP to create more afterschool spots, ensuring that EVERY child who requests a spot receives one.

2. DHSP to improve outreach to and, if spots yet again remain limited, prioritize spaces for the most vulnerable families to ensure they apply to and receive afterschool support if they need it. Currently only families making 65% of the HUD Area Income receive priority in the afterschool lottery. This is ~$91k/year for a family of four. Many families who make above $91k/year cannot afford alternate childcare options. DHSP may want to consider raising this threshold. 

3. CPS and DHSP to work together to ensure that every child is transported (by bus, walking accompaniment, or any other safe means) to the afterschool program they are accepted to, including afterschool locations that are less than 1 mile from their school to their afterschool. (CPS granted this access in Oct 2022 but it is not guaranteed for the Fall 2023 school year.)

4. DHSP promote transparency by creating a dashboard with openings for Fall 2023 by school and waitlist numbers by school and grade. Parents need to assess chances of being accepted into the program and waitlist numbers should be accessible to parents. 

What we will do with this information:
These “signatures” will help us advocate for greater changes within DHSP,  including support a policy order coming before the City Council on March 6.

Contact: Eugenia Schraa ( and with questions/comments.  
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