10 Questions to Help Evaluate Your After-School Program

With recent instances of an after-school program shutting down due to compliance issues and the death of a 3-year child left in a van at an Orlando facility, we’ve recruited some expert assistance to help owners running martial arts after-school programs to get a deeper under

While many gurus promote After-School Program Systems as an easy route to six-figures, the reality is that in order to run a stable, secure after-school program, compliance with state laws has to be front and center.

Our experts have never had to shut down because of the law. Indeed, for over 20-years, they have defeated every effort to shut down any of their client’s after-school programs. That is in stark contrast to after-school gurus who have to shut down their own programs, yet continue to play expert.

Do you or your school staff transport students from school to your facility?

Correct! Wrong!

In many states, it is illegal for you as the school owner to transport children. If you have an accident where a child is hurt or killed and you are transporting the children illegally, your family tree just changed for the worse. The legal fees in criminal and civil court could ruin you financially and put you in prison.

Do you help the kids with school work?

Correct! Wrong!

An after-school program is not a tutoring program. While it's usually okay to provide time and space for the child to choose to do school work, you are not in the tutoring business so it's illegal to advertise or act like you are.

Do you provide snacks for the kids?

Correct! Wrong!

It is illegal​ to provide snacks if you are not a licensed daycare.

Do you sell juice or milk to the kids?

Correct! Wrong!

This will get you shut down. Any consumable that can go bad if the power goes out and refrigeration is lost needs to removed from any vending machine.

If a parent brings you an Employee Benefit Sheet to offset the cost of your after-school program, do you sign it?

Correct! Wrong!

Most of these types of forms are for "child care." Unless you are in the child care business, you can't sign that form.

Do you or your school staff transport students to and from field trips during the school year?

Correct! Wrong!

field trips are not permitted under any circumstances during the entire school year when school is in session, not even during the teacher’s days off or vacation weeks.

Do you use a sign out sheet?

Correct! Wrong!

Do NOT use sign-out sheets. They are day-care regulated forms for supervision and care. There are very specific types of forms that are permitted​ by law.

Do you provide care for your students?

Correct! Wrong!

You are not a daycare. Your Studio should not provide or accept any responsibility for supervision or care beyond the teaching of martial arts.

Do you discount tuition for students who do not use your transportation?

Correct! Wrong!

If you discount for not using your transportation, that puts you into the commercial transportation business. That requires a totally different level of insurance and licensing. If your vehicle is involved in an accident, regardless if anyone got hurt, you’re liable for illegally operating a vehicle for hire. You will have legal bills for breaking the law. You could be at fault regardless of what happened because you should not have been there in the first place. You were at that time and place illegally, so you get charged, sued, and possible jailed.

If one of your 5 year olds walks out your front door alone, what would you do?

Correct! Wrong!

Truthfully, either answer is wrong. This is the kind of question that the DCF uses to entrap school owners and shut them down. It's this level of nuance and over 20-years of experience working with and fighting off the DCF that the MATA After-School program brings to school owners. Be sure to enter your info in the box on the right to stay informed about the program.

10 Questions to Help Evaluate Your After-School Program
0 - 3 Compliant Answers

You may be in deep trouble and need expert advice ASAP. You are running an unlicensed, noncompliant daycare, not an after-school martial arts program. There is a huge difference.
4 - 6 Compliant Answers
You may be in deep trouble and need expert advice ASAP. You are running an unlicensed, non-compliant daycare, not an after-school martial arts program. There is a huge difference.
7 - 8 Compliant Answers
You may be running an unlicensed daycare, not an after-school martial arts program.
Well done. It looks like you may be fully compliant.

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Martial Arts After-School Programs – The Hype. The Profits. The Pitfalls.

Martial Arts After-School Programs – The Hype. The Profits. The Pitfalls.


Visit the MATA After-School Program System Page


Beware the lure of those hawking the “easy profits” of an after-school program. History has shown that state laws and their enforcement are more powerful than a Joe Lewis sidekick or a “know it all” upstart.

MATA has been working with Tim McCahan since early 2016 to develop a proven after-school program system. Tim and his family have been operating a successful after-school program since 1997. Tim is a protege’ of the “Godfather” of After-School Programs Jim King. Please use the comment area to submit questions to Tim about after-school programs. Next week, we’ll follow up with his answers.

The Profits

There is no question that a well-run after-school program (ASP) can be a strong source of income. In fact, it can be a great SINGLE source of income. With an ASP, you’re paid a weekly tuition that rivals most schools’ monthly tuition. A well-run, legal ASP can be a cash cow with just one hour to teach per day between the hours you are open, which are typically 2 – 6:00pm, with weekends off. Could you handle that? Ah, the temptation.

The Perils

The danger is that when you start an after-school program, you move into a completely different legal minefield. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) oversees after-school program legislation regarding licensing and statute enforcement. Your state may require you to become a licensed daycare center with pages of regulations and endless fees, if you don’t know how to operate under their legal exemption. If you don’t comply, they will shut you down. It happens all of the time.

State laws may prohibit or restrict your ability to even help kids with homework, feed them, provide snacks or even use the terms, “care” or  “supervision.”

They Had No Idea

What is amazing is that when these owners turn to MATA for help, they claim that they had no idea of the liability. They had no idea there were special laws. They had no idea that they would ever be faced with refunding maybe dozens of families fees totaling thousands of dollars.

The Lesson

If anyone selling an ASP system does not make DCF compliance a major issue of focus, he or she may be leading you off of a cliff.

Visit the MATA After-School Program System Page to register for updates and webinars with John Graden and Tim McCahan.

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