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Become an OST Advocate


Championing accessible afterschool opportunities for all children

One critical aspect of our work is to facilitate advocacy for Indiana’s out-of-school time providers. To forward these efforts, we gather relevant data that articulates the OST programming’s value and its positive impact on Hoosiers, we prepare program staff and volunteers to implement best practices and innovation in their work, and we identify structured ways to pursue broader support and understanding of the collective out-of-school time field.

We promote advocacy and action through the following:

  • IAN Workshops and Conference. During various workshops and its annual Summit on Out of School Learning, IAN provides vital education to OST professionals and board members to foster cooperation and consensus on important issues.
  • IAN Advocacy Champions Initiative. Around the state, OST providers are improving their boards’ abilities to tell their organization’s stories within their communities, to policymakers, and beyond. In short, to advocate. This initiative aims to facilitate that storytelling by working through cohort of board members representing local providers of OST programming. Together, we partner to elevate advocacy as an important function of local OST boards.
  • Indiana OST Advocacy Week. Grassroots advocacy is imperative. As part of a coordinated biennial effort, local OST program providers host local, state, and federal elected and appointed officials during local outreach events. The outreach affords providers with opportunities to develop deeper more meaningful relationships with public leaders while speaking to the issues impacting their communities.
  • Indiana OST Statehouse Day. The biennial event affords OST leaders and volunteers an opportunity to meet with their state-level elected officials to learn how their program provider can partner with the State for greater community impact, advocate in relation to specific policy issues, and share about the important work of the OST field throughout the State.
  • Public Policy Committee. Comprised of OST leaders from around the State, the committee is responsible for providing a clear strategy for public policy advocacy and organizing advocacy efforts across the state. One of the primary responsibilities of the committee is to lead the development of IAN’s annual Policy Priorities for recommendation to the Board.

Click here to view our 2024 Public Policy Priorities.

How we do our work

We promote and advocate for policies and initiatives that enable Indiana’s OST providers to provide opportunities for learning beyond the school day so that all Indiana youth can grow into healthy, thriving adults. As a statewide non-partisan, nonprofit organization, IAN is the voice of Indiana’s OST field. With that responsibility, and in our work, we strive to uphold the values of provider autonomy, ongoing education, volunteer leadership, collective strength, and community improvement.

How we do our work:

  • Research and Data. IAN tracks and analyzes data to inform our public policies. We also conduct anecdotal research with our network regarding how to improve the lives of the children, adults, and families in the communities they serve. This forms the foundation of how we develop our public policy recommendations.
  • Partner Collaboration. We work with partners at different coalition tables to collectively raise our voices and advocate for change, while ensuring the needs of the youth, adults, and families we serve informs our efforts.
  • Proactive Advocacy. IAN educates policymakers of all parties, in the legislature and in the administration, in Indianapolis and in Washington, D.C., to achieve meaningful policy results.
  • Resource. We serve as a reliable, objective resource on policies impacting support for the OST field, access to OST programs, and improved coordination and capacities for the OST field.

If you are interested in partnering with the Indiana Afterschool Network on advocacy efforts promoting Awareness & Support, Access, and Capacity & Coordination, please contact Sam Barnett, Associate Director of Advocacy.

Our 2024 Public Policy Priorities

Increase awareness and support for Indiana’s OST field through:


  • Increased public funding to support training for OST professionals
  • Establishment of a dedicated path to licensure for providers of OST programming

Enhance access to quality OST programs through:


  • Establishment of public funding that facilitates transportation options for participation in OST programming
  • Expanding the availability of high-quality after school and summer learning options for underserved communities and families
  • Opposing legislation that limits the abilities of the out of school time field to provide programs and services to all Indiana youth
  • Opposing the elimination of tax incentives and tax credits that either encourage charitable giving or facilitate families’ access to needed OST programming

Build OST system capacity and coordination through:


  • State-level adoption of a quality rating system dedicated to out-of-schooltime program providers
  • Policies that promote collaborations between schools and providers of out of school time programming to ensure a bridging of the gap between child development that happens at school and at home
  • Expansion of programming, initiatives, and resources that positively impacts the development of youth and out of school time programming

Browse our library of afterschool-related events from all across the state to view any scheduled advocacy opportunities nearest your community.

Additional Advocacy Resources

America After 3PM
Compiled by the Afterschool Alliance, America After 3PM is the nation’s largest household survey of how kids spend the afterschool hours.

Campaign for Afterschool Toolkit
Collection of resources to help you spark conversations about afterschool with candidates for office in your local community or state.

Federal Afterschool Policy Updates
From funding streams to nutritious meals in programs, federal policy plays a big role in the afterschool landscape. Learn more about the latest federal policy developments from the Afterschool Alliance Policy newsletter.

Find Your Indiana Legislators
This tool provided by the Indiana General Assembly will help you locate your elected legislators – including your State Senators, State Representatives, and Congressional Legislators – so that you can stay more informed of their platforms and policies.