The following recommendations come from day-care workers, parents, and experts in the field:
* School officials, Parents, and community groups should work together to determine the need for after-school care in their area. Programs should be tailored to meet the need of the community -- e.g., putting an emphasis on language skills and remedial work when dictated or on recreational activities in other cases.
* School programs should not concentrate exclusively on serving the poor. Middle-income families are also greatly in need of after-school care and should not have to depend on expensive private programs or franchises to provide it.
* Parents should play an integral part in program planning, via overseer boards and committees. When possible, parents should volunteer as classroom aides. Day-care specialists point out that too many after-school programs are now designed by academicians or nonprofit groups with little regard for parents' wishes.
* Principals, school boards, and PTAs should work together to publicize the availability of after-school programs. Evening and weekend meetings should be encouraged to address problems of the family: single-parent challenges; drug- and alcohol-related stresses; and neighborhood safety.
* Innovative ways of adjusting the program structure to community needs should be explored. For example, some suggest that after-school programs be conducted around the clock in factory communities where parents work on shifts. Employer contributions may be dictated to fund such a plan.
* Incorporate "big brother" and "big sister" organizations into school programs for single-parent yo ungsters.