FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – A recent Fort Worth Independent School District study shows without after school programs, 12-percent of parents said their children would be home without adult supervision after school.

“Some parents like myself don’t get off of work until five, so after school programs do help because they can have those two hours from the time of getting out of school to when the parents get out of work — some activities to do,” said Monica Andress, whose 11 year old daughter attends a FWISD elementary school.

There are after school services available from both the school district and The City of Fort Worth.

But right now the availability, management and quality of those programs varies widely.

(credit: CBS 11 News)

“We don’t have a consolidated tracking of information,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “How many people are enrolled in the 94 spots? We don’t have necessarily a real good handle on the quality. Some of the are free for the kids and some of them are parent pay.”

That is what Fort Worth and FWISD want to change. The city is one of nine in the country to receive a $760,000 grant for after school programs. For the first time, Fort Worth will create an oversight organization called SPARC — that’s short for Strengthing Programs through Advocacy,

Resources and Collaboration.

SPARC will set standards for all the city’s after school programs, ensure they’re available to both private and public school students, and make sure parents can find the resources they need.

“This is pretty new ground for the city and school district to be working together on, and I think that speaks well for Fort Worth,” Mayor Price said.

City and school planners say SPARC should be able to survive with future grants and not tax money. And that could ensure that children do not have to be home alone after school.

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