21st CCLC programs are designed to provide safe environments for students during non-school hours. They may be located in schools, community facilities, and/or faith-based facilities, but they all must must provide a range of high-quality services to support student learning and development, As stated in the federal statue, the specific purposes of the law are to
- Provide opportunities for academic enrichment, including providing tutorial services to help students, particularly students who attend low-performing schools, to meet State and local student academic achievement standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and mathematics;
- Offer students a broad array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, and recreation programs, technology education programs, and character education programs, that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program of participating students; and
- Offer families of students served by community learning centers opportunities for literacy and related educational development.