On-campus day care receives four-year grant to help parents finish college

Marlene Pantaleon

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The A.S. Children's Center is located at 18343 Plummer St., next to parking Lot B6. Photo Credit: Angeleica Bonomo / Staff Photographer

The A.S. Children's Center is located at 18343 Plummer St., next to parking Lot B6. Photo Credit: Angeleica Bonomo / Staff Photographer

Children Center Podcast

As adults struggle through the California budget crisis, the Associated Students (A.S.) Children’s Center brings optimism to the children of CSUN students.

The Children’s Center just received a $971,136 four-year grant that will help provide child care for need-based students with kids.

Officer coordinator Gina De La Barcena has been working at the A.S. Children's Center for about two years. Photo Credit: Angeleica Bonomo / Angelica Bomono

Officer coordinator Gina De La Barcena has been working at the A.S. Children's Center for about two years. Photo Credit: Angeleica Bonomo / Angelica Bomono

“We are really excited to be receiving this grant,” said Conor Lansdale, Associated Students vice president and student representative for the children’s center. “ This is what A.S. loves to do. We love to find ways where students get to stay in school.”

Child Care Access Means Parent In School (CCAMPIS) is a four-year grant and one of the largest in the country provided from the United States Department of Education. It will be divided into about $243,000 each year. The last time the Children’s Center received a grant nearly this big was in 2002 (then it was for the amount of $700,000.

The CCAMPIS federal grant was created to push student parents to finish school, and also to give low-income parents access to childcare. A.S. general manager David Crandall said that students provided with affordable childcare are more often able to attend school and finish.

For A.S., the grant will provide more opportunities to offer qualified and affordable childcare. The grant will specifically focus on the Family Child Care Network (FCCN) which contracts with private caregivers in the community.

“The money goes to pay for the childcare that those network providers provide,” Crandall said. “The grant will provide care for children whom we do not currently provide care for.”

The Children’s Center located on campus is one of the many childcare options A.S. gives to students. The center caters to children from 15 months to 5 years of age. FCCN providers take children from 3 months to 12 years of age.

The Children’s Center and the FCCN have about 15 childcare providers around the CSUN campus that student parents with evening or Saturday classes are able to choose from. With the grant, the Children’s Center will bring more providers into the FCCN.

Children’s Center Director Christina O’Dell said that with CCAMPIS, she hopes to be expanding and contracting with up to 44 more providers. This will bring even more possibilities to parents with varied schedules.

Bryanne Knight, the A.S. recreation center project coordinator, was a student for three-and-a-half years at CSUN. Without the help of the Children’s Center and FCCN, she would not have been able to finish graduate school, she said.

“It was the only way I graduated,” Knight said. “I found out I was pregnant my second semester of graduate school. There was no way I would be able to take classes, pay for daycare, pay for school and get it done.”

The Children’s Center is also offered to campus employees. Now that Knight has finished school and works for A.S., she still has the opportunity to use the program.

“I have the ability to go over there at lunch and hang out with him,” Bryanne said, referring to her son. “It gives me a little more time to spend … with him during lunch. It gives me flexibility with seeing him more. I can just walk there.”

Besides bringing affordable childcare to parents, A.S. takes pride in being part of the Children’s Center for two major reasons, according to Crandall.

“The first is if a community has a place for its children, then the parents of those children can go on about their work lives and in this case their studies,” Crandall said.

“The second thing that our program does, that’s also important to us as the A.S., is that this is one of the larger learning labs on campus.”

The Children’s Center offers paid student teachers, interns and volunteers. These positions give other students who aspire to become elementary school teachers the ability to work directly with the children, Crandall added.

The Children’s Center has been offering its services to CSUN student parents since 1973.