The Early Childhood Services center at UCR recently received a four year $1.4 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education, with the goal of meeting the special needs of low-income students who require adequate child care, according to Davina Bailey, the Director of Early Child Services at UCR.
In an interview with the Highlander, Bailey stated that the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) Project will meet a serious institutional need. The students and parents participating in this program will be given support to acquire the services they will need to effectively pursue, to persist and graduate from UCR. Bailey stated, “The CCAMPIS Project design prescribes a unique model of coordinated services; one that integrates academic support, child care services, parenting workshops and parental involvement in the UCR Early Childhood Services Center to create an educational experience that will enhance retention and graduation.”
Bailey stated that “The changing demographics in Southern California, and thus UCR feeder communities are creating a large and exponentially expanding population of students with special needs such as child care to attend the university.” She said that this grant is important because these students with children to care for are at risk for poor retention if their needs remained unaddressed, as pursuing an education can leave little time and money with which to care for their children as needed.
Bailey added, “The numerous barriers facing low-income students as they strive to obtain a post-secondary education are well documented including student/parents dealing with high cost and/or unavailable quality child care.” She claimed that there is a relatively large community of students with this problem, as there are currently one hundred and ten students on a waiting list for campus-provided child care.
Specifically, Early Childhood Services provides a learning environment for children of UCR staff and students. Children are provided education as well as healthy breakfasts, lunches and afternoon snacks. As Bailey puts it, “Our programs provide a much needed support to student/parents that provides quality care for their children so they can focus on their studies.” The program seeks to address the inherent inflexibility of the schedule of a full time student and parent by working with students’ schedules, as it takes the needs of students into account. Although these services are offered to UCR staff and faculty parents, only students can qualify for the grant to have their costs covered.
According to Bailey, qualifying students are generally Pell Grant recipients with children under the age of 6 years old. The grant seeks to aid these low-income students by having their daycare tuition and meals funded. Bailey pointed to a study done by The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at UC Berkeley that estimated that child care costs around $1,570 a month for infants (18 months old and younger), $1,470 a month for toddlers (18-36 months old) and $1,000 a month for preschoolers (three to five years old). Early Childhood Services hopes to increase retention and raise graduation rates for low-income students with children by relieving them of these costs.
To ensure that parents are set up for success, Bailey stated that the program is flexible in that it takes into account student and parent academic and work schedules. This flexibility of hours allows parents to travel with their children based on their class schedule. The UCR ECS CCAMPIS model allows for quality family education services, including services for parents and children from two months to five years old, and results in helping families achieve their educational objectives. Bailey stated, “Together with our campus collaborators, we will support these families to self-sufficiency while at the same time strengthening the family.”
UCR Early Childhood Services is located at 3333 Watkins Drive, and can be contacted at (951) 827-3854.