Children must be involved with activities, for their physical, mental, and social well-being. Children from more fortunate families have the advantages of good school, neighborhoods and programs to pick from. However, children from less fortunate backgrounds should be eligible to use after-school programs to gain access to the types of activities needed to development themselves.
After-school programs provide a place to stay for latch-key kids until their parents get home, or at least less time unsupervised. Even if the child is not active in the program, just having some place for them to be other than out causing trouble is worth it. Some problems are caused simply for the kids idea that "there's nothing to do in this stupid town."
I think that after-school programs can help prevent some kids who are at risk from getting into trouble. After school programs can provide a way for some kids to be able to learn some technical and social skills that help them better their lives and prevent them from going into a life of crime.
Yes, after school programs help prevent at-risk youth from getting into trouble on the streets, because they have better things to do than being out on the streets committing crimes and learning how to join gangs. The programs are helpful for giving kids who want to do well an alternative to being on the streets.