District Launches Latchkey Program

Latchkey children at three San Fernando Valley elementary schools will no longer have to stay home alone, thanks to after-school child-care programs started by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The programs are operated by the district’s Child Development Division, which offers the child care at seven other elementary schools in the Valley.

A $12,000 grant from the state Department of Education provided start-up costs for the three new programs--at Capistrano Avenue Elementary in Canoga Park, Lockhurst Drive Elementary in Woodland Hills and Wilbur Avenue Elementary in Tarzana--but costs to run the programs will be covered by fees from parents.

Other latchkey programs--including the LA’s BEST and the YMCA--offer similar services throughout the Valley and some offer classes in addition to providing child care.


Craig Lancaster, director of the latchkey program for the Child Development Division, said responses to a survey sent to parents of Valley elementary school children last year determined which three schools would begin the programs.

“There is such an unmet need out there for child care,” Lancaster said. “I’m always excited to expand the program.”

The initial grant went toward supplies such as globes, paper, paint, jump ropes and playground balls. The cost to parents is $8 per day, per child from 2 to 6 p.m.