A federal investment of $273,266 was announced Monday, Sept. 30, to allow California State University, Stanislaus to quadruple the size of its Child Development Center (CDC), allowing more student parents to earn their degrees while parenting. The investment, through the Department of Education’s Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program, will allow the CDC to expand from its current capacity of 30 children to 120.
“Every couple months, we see a viral video of a professor holding a baby in class because the parent couldn’t find or struggled to afford a babysitter – it’s nice to see educators help, but we should do even more to make sure student parents can balance the priorities in their lives,” said Rep. Josh Harder, who represents the 10th Congressional District that includes the Stan State campus. “Childcare costs about as much as going to UC or CSU every year – and we need to do more to make sure student parents have a safe and enriching place for their kids go so they can get to class and study.”
Rep. Harder’s office notified Stanislaus State of the existence of this grant, helped the university apply, and wrote a letter of support to the Department of Education in June to ensure the funding was made available.
“One in six students at Stan State is juggling parenting with going to college,” said Dr. Ellen Junn, President, California State University, Stanislaus. “This grant will provide much needed support to help those students persist and graduate while launching their own children on a path to college. We are excited and grateful that this grant will allow us to increase access to high-quality child care for student-parents as well as provide individualized plans to address student-parent needs.”
“This grant will also provide our students convenient and high-quality on-campus care and additional academic and parenting resources that will support their timely graduations and help our students be successful students and parents,” said Dr. Gina Cook, Associate Professor of Psychology and Child Development, California University, Stanislaus.
“The CDC program has been wonderful,” said Melissa Semmons, a Stan State Master’s student who has two children in the CDC program. “This grant is a big relief because tuition at another daycare or education program would cost as much as my tuition at Stan State. We view the center as not only investing in our own futures, but also giving our kids an early investment in education – it’s made them more curious and better prepared them for their futures.”
Semmons credits the program with empowering her to complete her bachelor’s degree and continue her studies as a master’s student studying business. She hopes to work locally in sustainable agriculture once she has completed her studies.
The CDC at Stan State offers educational daycare services to children ranging from two-months-old to five-years-old. In addition to simply caring for the children as their parents attend classes, study for exams, or write papers, the CDC offers critical early childhood education. The CDC also offers parenting classes and education services to the parents themselves.