People with the Community Partnership for Protecting Children say more local kids are spending a lot of time unsupervised. The group is concerned that could lead to problems with discipline and safety.
When school lets out, many kids have nowhere to go, and no one to look after them until their parents come home from work. Some of them end up at local libraries, which forces librarians to do double duty as baby-sitters.
"We can have as many as 100 kids in the library between the hours of three and six. These are kids who can't go home," says Uretha Gilmore, who works at the South Columbus Branch Library.
With more parents working longer hours to support their families, many children are left on their own, which could give them an opportunity to do things they shouldn't be doing.
"We need them to have some type of activity, whether it's the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club, so they can get involved and stay out of trouble," said Natika Everett, Coordinator for the CPPC.
The Community Partnership for Protecting Children says that several after school programs are available, but families aren't utilizing them--either because they're not aware of the relatively low cost, or because of transportation issues. So the group is hosting a series of meetings aimed at spreading information about after school options. One idea is to throw a block party and invite families to come and learn, while having some fun.
"We're going to invite all the childcare providers. Girls Inc., the Boys and Girls Club, private owners of centers, those offering summer programs, so basically the families will know what's available to them," said Pam Seldon, the CPPC's Natural Helper.
But sometimes, it takes a villiage to raise a child.
"We want the community to be involved in the decisions we are making for them," Natika Everett said.
If you would like to help or find out more information on how to keep your kids safe after school, you haven't missed your chance.
The Community Partnership for Protecting Children will hold its next meeting Tuesday, March 6th at 6:00 p.m. It will be held at the South Columbus Branch Library on South Lumpkin Road.