Blackburn, Cortez Masto Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Strengthen After School Programs, Reduce Juvenile Crime In Local Communities

March 20, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today introduced the bipartisan Advancing Frequent and Tailored Education to Rebuild Safe Communities and Help Orchestrate Opportunities and Learning (AFTER SCHOOL) Act that would establish a grant program for local communities to establish, maintain, and strengthen after school programs with the goal of reducing violent crime among juveniles

“Over the last several years, we have seen a concerning rise in violent crime among juveniles, which had previously been on the decline,” said Senator Blackburn. “We know that 62 percent of violent crime by youth occurs on school days, and of those crimes, most take place after school. This bipartisan legislation will help strengthen after school programs in local communities that have been proven to help reduce juvenile crime rates and encourage positive youth development.” 

“Early intervention is key to helping at-risk youth and after school programs are a proven tool to reduce crime and help support young Nevadans,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I’ve introduced this bipartisan bill to make sure we are investing in the future of our youth by providing the tools and resources they need to set them on the path for success.”


  • In Memphis, there was a 42% increase in the number of juveniles charged with crimes and a 29% increase in the number of juveniles who were charged for delinquent acts in 2021. Nashville has experienced a similar rise in juvenile crimes. The DC area has seen a 20% increase in juvenile arrests in 2022—with carjackings, robberies, and assaults being a particular problem among youth offenders.
  • The gap of time after school and before their parents get home is prime time for violent behavior among youth.
    • The four hours following the end of the school day (around 2:00 to 6:00 PM) is typically the peak of violent crime.
  • The University of Chicago, over the course of two separate studies, found a 28 to 35 percent reduction of total arrests and a 45 to 50 percent reduction in violent crime by participating youth, as well as a 21 percent reduction in recidivism.
  • The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program is a federal grant program that offers funds to states and localities to be used for after school programs that advance academic achievement, but CCLC grants are usually competitive.
    • Thus, cities need an easy way to apply for and receive funds to establish and strengthen after school programs. 


  • The AFTER SCHOOL Act would establish a grant program, administered through the Department of Justice, through which localities can receive funds to establish, maintain, and strengthen these after school programs that are so effective.
  • Specifically, school districts may be eligible to receive these funds upon submission of an application in which they confirm that their county’s juvenile offense rate (the percentage of violent juvenile offenses as compared to the total number of violent offenses committed by all age groups) is more than 10 percent.
    • The school district must calculate this data by using the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

Click here for bill text.