"If you wait until the last minute, you'll be limited in the number of places available to you," said Anna Carter of the state Division of Child Development.
Experts said parents should start doing their homework on after-school programs now, especially since all programs do not have to be licensed.
"If a program is operating for four hours or less, it does not have to be licensed by the state, so sometimes parents will believe a program is being monitored by our agency and they may not be," Carter said.
The state Division of Child Development does monitor after-school programs and recommends parents ask the following questions:
Parents of middle school students face an even bigger challenge. After-school care for adolescents is almost non-existent.
"There is a gap or lack of service for middle school youth. [However,] I think that gap may be closing some," said Rosa Andrews of 4-H Youth Development.
Experts say if you plan on leaving your child unsupervised, you should take into consideration the maturity level of your child and how long your child will remain home alone.
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