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DHSP Afterschool Programs Lottery

Human Service Programs

The Department of Human Service Programs (DHSP) offers afterschool programs designed to develop children’s social and emotional growth and build healthy relationships. Childcare Afterschool programs and Community Schools afterschool programs are open to Kindergarten through 5th graders. Cambridge Youth Programs (CYP) Pre-teen / Middle School Programs are open to 4th – 8th graders. The King Open Extended Day program is available to Kindergarten through 5th graders who attend the King Open School.  

2024-2025 DHSP Afterschool Programs Lottery

  • All DHSP afterschool programs are filled through a lottery system. To apply, families must fill out a DHSP Afterschool Programs Lottery application. 
  • Applications will be accepted April 22 - May 17. This webpage will be updated with the application link when available. 
  • Families can apply to Childcare Afterschool, Community Schools, King Open Extended Day, and Cambridge Youth Programs through the same lottery application.
  • Families will be notified of their child's placement offer at an afterschool program or in the Waiting Pool in mid-June. 

Eligibility

  • Applicants must be Cambridge residents or children of City of Cambridge employees.
  • Children must be entering Kindergarten through 8th grade in September 2024

Re-enrollment in DHSP Afterschool Programs

  • Children currently enrolled in a Childcare Afterschool, Community Schools, King Open Extended Day, or Cambridge Youth Program for the 2023-2024 school year can re-enroll in the same program for 2024-2025 by completing a DHSP Afterschool Programs Lottery application.
  • Re-enrollment applications must be completed by the May 17 deadline.

Tuition

  • Tuition for DHSP Afterschool Programs is based on household size and income. Tuition charts will be posted on this webpage closer to the application period. 
  • Tuition is free for 6-8th graders participating in CYP Pre-Teen / Middle School afterschool programs.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between each afterschool program?

Childcare Afterschool programs are open to children in Junior Kindergarten through 5th grade. Programs offer project-based learning curriculum that links to Cambridge Public Schools' learning goals. Care is provided 5 days a week from the end of the school day until 5:55 p.m. All classrooms are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). Childcare Afterschool programs accept DTA and EEC vouchers. 

Community Schools afterschool programs are open to Cambridge children in Junior Kindergarten through 5th grade. Programming focuses on educational, cultural, social, and recreational enrichment opportunities. Activities range from cooking and arts to sports and STEAM-related fun. Families have the option of signing up for afterschool programming 2, 3, or 5 days a week. 

Cambridge Youth Programs' Pre-Teen / Middle Schools Afterschool Programs
are open to Cambridge youth who are pre-teens and middle schoolers in 4th – 8th grade. CYP programming promotes leadership and youth development through enrichment activities, unique experiences, and opportunities to develop relationships with adults and peers. Families have the option of signing up for afterschool programming 2, 3, or 5 days a week. 

King Open Extended Day Program is open to Cambridge children in Junior Kindergarten through 5th grade who are enrolled in the King Open School. The afterschool program is completely integrated into the King Open School to support children’s social and academic learning. Children must be students at the King Open School to apply to this program.

How does the DHSP Afterschool Programs Lottery work?

All applications that are received by the application deadline are assigned a random lottery number.  Siblings are grouped together and share the same lottery number. The applications are then divided into 2 groups, Priority Applicants (from households with an income of 65% or less of HUD AMI) and General Applicants. 30% of seats in each afterschool program are designated for priority applicants.

Children who are currently enrolled in a DHSP afterschool program can re-enroll at the same site by completing the application. Children who are re-enrolling will be guaranteed a seat at that site if they do not have any past due tuition balances. If children are currently enrolled in a DHSP afterschool program and would like to enroll at a different site, they will not get a seat preference and will be re-entered into the lottery.

Who are "Priority Applicants"?

Priority is based on household size and income. Applicants with a household income of 65% or less than HUD Area Median Income (AMI) are given priority in the lottery. 

Is there a sibling preference for placements?

Yes, siblings are grouped together and share the same lottery number. When one child’s lottery number is selected and they are placed in at an afterschool site, their sibling(s) get preference to be placed at the same site (provided that the family indicated the same sites for all children).

Sibling placement depends on seat availability at each site for the sibling's age group and is not guaranteed.

Can 4-year-olds apply to the DHSP Afterschool Programs Lottery?

Afterschool programs that are run by the Department of Human Service Programs operate consistent with the state’s Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) licensure standards. Prior to the launch of the Cambridge Preschool Program (CPP), Cambridge children who were 4.5 years of age and older were eligible to enroll in Junior Kindergarten and were considered school-aged by the state’s Department of Early Education and Care. With the implementation of CPP, which replaces Junior Kindergarten, children who are 4.5 years old are no longer considered school-aged by the state. Beginning with the 2024-2025 DHSP Afterschool Lottery, children must be entering Kindergarten in September to be eligible to apply.

My child will be re-enrolling. Do I need to apply?

Yes, if you are interested in re-enrolling your child(ren), you need to fill out a DHSP Afterschool Programs Lottery application by the application deadline. Families will use the same application to apply for each of their children.

If you wish to apply to a different afterschool program or site, your child will be entered into the lottery.

Can I apply for more than one child through the same application?

Yes, you can apply for up to 5 children who live in the same household through one application. Please use the same application to apply for each child in your household. 

Does my child need to attend the same school for academic and afterschool programming?

Children can apply to afterschool programs at different locations than the school they attend except for the following three programs:

  • Children who apply to the King Open Extended Day afterschool program must be enrolled at the King Open School.
  • Children who apply to the Fletcher-Maynard Academy Community School must be enrolled at Fletcher-Maynard Academy.
  • Children who apply to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community School must be enrolled at the Martin Luther King, Jr. School. 

Your child must arrive at their afterschool program at the program's start time or after.

DHSP does not provide transportation to afterschool sites. Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) provides transportation between schools and some sites. If your child chooses to attend an afterschool site and CPS does not provide transportation between your child’s school and the afterschool site, you will be responsible for transporting your child to the afterschool program.

Is transportation provided between CPS and DHSP afterschool sites?

DHSP does not provide transportation to afterschool sites. CPS provides transportation between schools and some sites.

If your child chooses to attend an afterschool site and CPS does not provide transportation between your child’s school and the afterschool site, you will be responsible for transporting your child to the afterschool program.

How much does it cost to participate in DHSP afterschool programs?

Families pay tuition for an entire year of programming, broken into monthly payments.

Monthly tuition rates are based on household size, family income and the number of days your child(ren) will attend programming.

My child was offered a seat for less days of the week than I applied for. Will I be able offered additional days?

If seats become available at an afterschool program site, children who were offered less days of the week than they applied for will be placed for the remaining days before the seats are offered to a child in the waiting pool.  

What are the other afterschool options in Cambridge?

In addition to the DHSP Afterschool Programs, there are six afterschool programs in Cambridge that offer afterschool care five days a week. Please visit their websites for program and registration information: Agassiz Baldwin Community, Cambridge Community Center, Community Art Center, Dragon Fly Afterschool, East End House, Cambridge YMCA.

The Agenda for Children Out-of-School Time (AFCOST) is a great resource for afterschool opportunities in Cambridge. Their Afterschool Resource Guide will be posted on their website when available.

You can also find afterschool options and many other resources for families at www.finditcambridge.org

Page was last modified on 4/10/2024 2:48 PM
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