Starting an Afterschool Program

NC CAP posts studies and reports worthy of consideration by those interested in effective afterschool practices. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to, nor considered inclusive of, the philosophy of the center, its board, or funders.

Planning to start an afterschool program? Thank you! With just 15% of children enrolled in afterschool programs around the nation, you will be providing a much needed opportunity for young people and families in your community.

There is no definitive approach to starting an afterschool program; each community is different and the process varies depending on where you are and what type of program you plan to create.



The type of program that you design may be dependent on whether or not you want to be licensed. Most afterschool programs that serve children and youth ages 5-18 are not required by law to be licensed.  However, programs that participate in the Subsidized Child Care Program require licensing for programs offering care for 5 to 12 year-old children. Other programs choose to be licensed because it serves as an extra stamp of approval for parents when searching for a high quality program. Being licensed means programs must meet Chapter 110 of the North Carolina General Statutes-Child Care Facilities and the Child Care Requirements. All licensed programs are monitored by the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE). For learning about licensure, call the DCDEE. Their State hotline is 800.859.0829 (in-state calls only) or 919.662.4499. More information can also be found on the DCDEE website. This site offers information about obtaining and maintaining a child care license and outlines the first steps:

  • Contacting a regional OCCS office;
  • Meeting with a licensor; and
  • Testing the building for lead and/or arranging for a physical access consultant to review physical facility modifications.



The Afterschool Alliance has a plethora of resources, tools, and tips for starting an afterschool program in your community.

Visit the Afterschool Alliance Start Up page to learn more →

How to Start a 501 (c)(3) Nonprofit Organization

The NC Center for Nonprofits has compiled this information packet as a complimentary service for visitors. The Center does not provide consulting services or assistance in filing documents for nonprofit status. They recommend you contact an attorney for help with the legal process. Members of the NC Center for Nonprofits have access to many additional services for help in managing their organizations.

Visit the NC Center for Nonprofits website for more information →

Beyond the Bell – Toolkit

Learning Point Associates has a new resource available for those interested in developing afterschool programs. “Beyond the Bell – A Toolkit for Creating Effective Afterschool and Expanded Learning Programs” offers advice for those who are developing an afterschool program. The guide stresses the importance of examining the unique needs of children in the community prior to program launch, explores different program options and offers a timeline of activities.


United Way – Out-Of-School Time Toolkit

The United Way Out-Of-School Time Toolkit provides an array resources pertaining to Out-Of-School Time programs including advocacy, quality, data, funding, research and tools. They have learning modules and action agendas that can be accessed.

View the Out-of-School Time toolkit → provides an array of federal resources and information on youth development and the benefits of afterschool programs. Resources highlight the benefits to youth, families and communities, the process of starting and operating a program, potential activities, funding, workforce development and health and nutrition.

View the afterschool resources →

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