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Characteristics of At-Risk Students: Latchkey Children

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Characteristics of At-Risk Students: Latchkey Children

Tiffany Tham

AED 201

Linda Rosiak

Axia College, University of Phoenix

June 13, 2010

Children who go home to an empty house without parental supervision are called Latchkey Children. These children are usually left alone until one or both parents arrive home from work. Latchkey children are often told by parents not to open doors for strangers or step outside. A list of emergency contacts is usually left in a place where the children can see in case of an emergency. Parents usually provide a snack for the children to come home to while they wait for their parents' to come home and make dinner. Some parents even cook dinner the night before so the child can just reheat and eat. I was not a Latchkey child, but many of my friends were. Many of them would walk home to an empty house every day; some of them would have food prepared for them; and some would have to do it themselves. At our age I never realized that my friends would be categorized as at risk students because they went home to no one.

The programmed I researched is called the START program. The Start program helps children with anything from homework to tutoring, as well as reading, literacy, math and recreational activities. START also provides extended daycare needs to those students who need them. Each school's extended program varies but all provides similar activities for students. Start also offers programs through community partners. The START program is not a known "Latchkey Children" program but many of the students here are latchkey children. This program helps to keep students from going to home to an empty house. START provides a continued learning environment for children even after school is letting out.

The other known Latchkey option is the Library. Libraries are most of the time near a school, so students tend to migrate there when school is out for the day. However, The American Library Association says that "their libraries do not have sufficient staff to provide child care." Although we do not have a known library latchkey children program, it is still a better idea than having the children come home to an empty house. The library provides resources for children to use and a quiet place to complete their home work. Some schools even provide transportation to students who need it to the nearby library. Even though a library was not equipped to be a child care, it still provides a haven for children who do not have parents at home waiting for them.

Both the START program and library are useful and exemplary to our students because they provide a continued learning environment for our students. They both also require parental consent and parental involvement. In order for children to participate in the START programs, the parents must register their child at the school they are attending. As far as the library goes, it would be up to the parent or guardian where they want



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