Afterschool Policy

We believe in policy solutions that advance equitable access to quality afterschool programs.

MN State Capitol


Our Policy Approach:

As Minnesota's Afterschool Network, Ignite Afterschool is committed to ensuring all young people can participate in high-quality afterschool and summer programs, regardless of income or race. This commitment stems from our belief that relationships with caring adults and hands-on learning are the key to unlocking young people’s potential. According to analysis using Ignite's Policy Criteria, we believe these policy priorities offer solutions to help close the Afterschool opportunity gap.



Rep. Fue Lee

2020 Policy Priorities:


MN State Funding for Afterschool: Establish a competitive grant program for Afterschool and Summer programs serving low-income youth

  • Afterschool Community Learning Grants has received consistent bi-partisan support in every legislative session since it was first introduced in the 2015 legislative session, but has yet to be passed into law.


Dedicated funding stream for Afterschool and Summer programs at the federal level.


CAEC Recommendations 


Make Information Youth-Led and Friendly

  • What: To help young people make healthy decisions, programs like D.A.R.E have been proven not to work. Young people want access to accurate information about cannabis law and the health effects of cannabis use in community spaces, not only in schools.  
  • How: Fund young people to design education strategies and resources.  Ensure schools, counties, and the state involve young people and youth-centered organizations in all youth education efforts.

Build Youth Leadership through Afterschool 

  • What: Investing in young people’s leadership and skill-building is better than in addiction treatment and incarceration.  Afterschool and summer programs build skills and support young people to make healthy decisions.
  • How: Dedicate a portion of Community Renewal Grants (CanRenew) to high-quality, community-centered, out-of-school youth leadership programs.  Ensure young people have a role in deciding which projects get funded.

Create youth-friendly career pathways

  • Why: The cannabis industry creates equity-centered career opportunities for Minnesotans.  Current law makes internships and other cannabis-industry skill-building for young people aged 18-20 difficult and delays young people’s ability to learn the skills necessary to enter the field at 21.
  • How: Create clear guidance for those in higher education and the Cannabis industry around education and skill-building options accessible to 18-20-year-olds that can feed into Cannabis career pathways.  

Educate, don’t incarcerate 

  • Why: When cannabis use is legalized for adults, it can lead to an increase in policing and arrests of young people under 21, which continues to exacerbate racial disparities.  When young people become involved in juvenile justice, especially residential services, they have an increased risk of adult incarceration.  Focus on education, skill building, and leadership, not punishment. 
  • How: Connect young people arrested for minor cannabis offenses with educational resources and community leadership programs.  Groups of young people disproportionately impacted by arrests should be involved in decision-making around investments and strategies to support positive life choices.

Add Youth to the Cannabis Advisory Council

  • What: The inclusion of youth perspectives in the decision-making process concerning cannabis legislation and policy is crucial. Without direct youth involvement, decisions about youth-related issues may not adequately address the needs and concerns of young people.
  • How: Add youth representatives to the cannabis advisory council. The representative would ensure that decisions impacting young people, such as education strategies, youth leadership programs, and career pathways, are made with their input and understanding of their unique circumstances.


Pravesh Sharma, M.D. “How Youth Substance Use Impacts Life.” Mayo Clinic Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System, 17 Jan. 2023,

 Copeland WE;Tong G;Gifford EJ;Easter MM;Shanahan L;Swartz MS;Swanson JW; “Adult Criminal Outcomes of Juvenile Justice Involvement.” Psychological Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Accessed 24 Jan. 2024.

 “Racial Disparities Persist in Marijuana Enforcement, Even after Legalization.” ACLU of Minnesota, 10 Mar. 2023,

MN State Capitol

Policy efforts supporting Afterschool:

Modifying the K-12 Education expense tax credit.

  • The tax credit process can be more streamlined and easier for families to use. Modifying the K-12 Education expense tax credit can increase accessibility. For more information, visit MN Afterschool Advance


Increasing the CCAP provider reimbursement rate.

  • The amount of care is increasing while the reimbursement rate stays the same. Increasing the CCAP provider reimbursement rate to at least the 25th percentile of the 2018 market rate survey would align with federal law. For more information, visit MnAEYC-MnSACA 


Increasing funding to the Minnesota Youth Council. 

  • The Minnesota Youth Council (MYC) mobilizes middle and high school students across the state to create equitable systems through youth led outreach, education, and advocacy. In 2013, the Minnesota Legislature formally recognized the work of the Minnesota Youth Council, passing into law the Minnesota Youth Council Committee Bill, which established the council as the “voice of youth” to the state legislature and the Governor. There are currently no state funds supporting the operation of the council. For more information, visit MN Alliance with Youth 
Afterschool Policy Publications

Learn more about the policies we support and our analysis of afterschool policy issues:

Afterschool Policy Platform Criteria & FAQ

Afterschool Policy Platform Criteria & FAQ

Afterschool Policy Whitepaper

This paper reports the findings of an Afterschool Policy Taskforce that was convened by Ignite Afterschool to critically examine and evaluate competing policy design proposals for afterschool policy in Minnesota.

Screenshot of first page of Targeted Services Executive Summary

Targeted Services Report: Executive Summary, Summer 2020

Cover image of CAEC Recommendation

The Cannabis Awareness and Education Council for Youth (CAEC), Core group of four young people 14-25 years old Partnership between Ignite Afterschool, World Youth Connect, and Youthprise with the Brooklyn Bridge Alliance with Youth. Aiming to empower youth with accurate cannabis education, prioritize youth leadership, create clear industry pathways, shift focus from policing to education, and include youth in advisory councils.