An accurate census count is essential for afterschool programs
Afterschool programs across our country are making a huge difference in the lives of children, families and communities. Millions of our children and youth rely on federal support, determined by the U.S. census, to attend afterschool and summer learning programs. The results of the census will be used to determine how more than $900 billion of federal spending will be allocated for the next 10 years.
It is critical that every individual, from newborns to the most elderly, physically living in the country be counted in the census. But far too many of our families, especially those in poverty, are not counted.
Helping to get an accurate census count is one of the most important things we can do to serve our communities.
The Afterschool Alliance has created a toolkit to help afterschool programs, staff, and youth insure that every member of their community is counted.
What is the census?
The census is a count of people living in the United States that is conducted every 10 years.
Who does the census count?
The census counts every resident in the United States, including citizens, non-citizen legal residents, non-citizen long-term visitors, and undocumented immigrants.
When will the census be taken?
In March 2020, households will receive a letter with details on how to fill out the census online. Several additional reminders will be mailed. In April 2020, households that have not responded will be sent a paper census. In May 2020, home visits will begin for households not yet counted.
Some people in our communities are nervous about participating in the census. Are they at risk?
- We can reassure families that filling out the census is safe.
- IT IS A FEDERAL CRIME TO USE ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED IN A CENSUS FORM FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN AN ACCURATE CENSUS COUNT.
- Census takers cannot ask for social security numbers, financial information, or payment of any kind.
How can afterschool providers make a difference?
- Encourage members of your community, including youth 18 or older, afterschool staff, and parents, to apply to be paid census takers. Applications are available here NOW.
- Educate your students, families, and communities about the importance of the census.
Help facilitate (and even host) events to encourage an accurate census count.
- Share information and locations where individuals can receive help with the census, including libraries and possibly programs themselves.
- Have students canvass neighborhoods and knock on doors to encourage accurate census counts.
We will continue to add information to this toolkit as it becomes available. Please share it widely, as we as a field have the power to make sure the children we serve are counted.