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Selected Works

Dana Fusco's Research

Advancing Youth Work: Current Trends, Critical Questions.


A Landscape Study of Youth Workers in Out-of-School Time

In an effort to reduce staff turnover and improve services to children and youth, there has been a growing trend towards professionalizing the field of after-school education. Efforts are underway to identify the competencies needed by youth workers and to create training programs that address those competencies. Yet, youth services are the least documented and least understood field in human services. Scattered data at best exists to identify youth workers, their reasons for entering (and exiting) the out-of-school workforce, their educational background or career goals. The purpose of the current study was to assess the landscape of the current workforce in after-school education in New York City. The study provides demographic information on 245 staff members of after-school programs, including their educational background and career goals, and helped to determine the current interest in a pre-baccalaureate program in youth studies. Though the purpose of the study emerged from local interests, e.g., the college’s desire to create a credit-bearing certificate program for youth workers, the study has national implications providing data on the populace of youth workers, their career goals, job responsibilities, and approach to youth work. 

This work was supported (in part) by a grant from the workers development initiative of the city university of new york.

Children's Perceptions of Developmental Opportunities

 - see highlights below 

After-school programs are organized to meet a wide range of purposes: recreation, prevention of specific problems such as, dropout or pregnancy, culture or enrichment, academic achievement, childcare, and youth leadership and empowerment. While the features of after-school programs vary greatly, the literature consistently suggests that neither younger nor older children fare well in rigidly structured programs but benefit from attending flexible programs with varied activities, supportive staff, and a recognizable product resulting from activities. 

The goals of this study were 

  1. to assess the developmental opportunities afforded by after school; 
  2. to compare the unique developmental contributions of school and after-school programs; and 
  3. to examine youth's perceptions of after school in relation to the program's objectives, activities, and overall structure. 

This Work Was Supported (In Part) By A Grant From The City University Of New York PSC-CUNY Research Award Program.

  • Research Highlight #1: Activities
  • Research Highlight #2: Youth Workers' Approach
  • Research Highlight #3: School vs. Community Based Programs
  • Research Highlight #4: Staffing After School Programs in NYC