Tweens, or pre-teen kids who are older than nine but less than thirteen, are not legally old enough to stay home by themselves. There was a time when it was acceptable for this age group to be "latchkey kids," but now most parents could be in trouble for doing this. There are just too many safety issues with giving a kid a key and hoping they get home safely and hoping that they do not open the door for strangers. If you have children between the ages of nine and twelve, here are some daycare options for this age group.
Some schools offer afterschool clubs and programs for tweens. The adults that supervise these programs may actually be some of the teachers at school, which makes parents and kids comfortable in the knowledge that they will see familiar faces after school. There are also afterschool programs through community youth centers, churches, health and fitness centers (e.g., the YMCA or YWCA) and even some daycares offer afterschool programming for older children up to age 12.
Rather than provide daycare or childcare for tweens, you might want to check out homework clubs. Some schools have groups that meet daily after school to work on homework and help resolve issues with subject comprehension. Sometimes there are also older students helping to tutor the younger ones. If you just need a safe place for your tween to be until you get out of work at five, a homework club is a good option. Your tween can complete all his/her homework before you pick him/her up and then the rest of the night is free for dinner and family time.
If you can find other kids your child's age who have working parents, you may be able to establish a "childcare co-op." These co-ops have kids go from one house to another before and/or after school. If you only work certain times and days of the week, you are the designated "sitter" on the days when you are at home. When you are at work and another parent is at home, that parent is the "sitter." When there are enough parents in the childcare co-op, every parent's shift is covered, and every child has a safe place to go with an adult present before and after school. It may take some good organizational skills, and a willingness for all parents to participate to make this work, but then no one has to pay for childcare and every kid is safe.
To learn more about your options, contact a company like Kidstown Drop-In Child Care Center.