Children’s Center grant to run out

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The $760,000, four-year grant that was awarded to the Associated Students/CSUN Children’s Center in 2002 by the federal government to help student parents pay for childcare services will not be renewed after Spring 2006.

“We won’t be able to provide as much service to as many people,” said David Crandall, general manager for A.S., regarding the loss of the grant.

Crandall said they are trying to soften the loss of the grant and should be able to supply a substantial amount of care and exquisite quality of care.

The name of the grant – Child Care Access Means Parents in School – was designed to help student parents pay for childcare, so they can successfully continue their education at CSUN. The grant also gave supplemental childcare for student parents at CSUN.

Beginning in 2002, the grant provided $190,000 a year for four years.

Nancy Lackey, coordinator of the center’s Family Child Care Network, which was expanded by the grant, said the grant was not awarded for the next cycle because the grant is competitive.

“We were competing against nationwide agencies,” Lackey said. “Competition is fierce.”

In 2002, when the grant was awarded to the center, it was awarded in the first funding cycle.

Since then, grant applications have tripled, Lackey said.

Arlene Rhine, director of Children’s Center, took part in drafting the proposal for the grant.

Rhine said she wrote the proposal for the grant because at the time the center had a long waiting list, and they did not have enough room to provide a lot of students with childcare.

The grant helped the center open up to care for more children, Rhine said.

“We used the money in center of Family Child Care to help students further their education,” Rhine said. “For example, if students qualify with the state then they can get some funds from the federal grant.”

The Family Child Care program helps student parents find licensed day-care facilities that meet state standards to care for their children while students attend class.

Rhine said the grant provided the center with additional money to help student parents find child care at licensed day-care facilities.

The grant provided additional services that the Children’s Center could not offer before the award, such as child care in the evenings, on weekends, during holidays and care for older children up to age 12.

“The money from the grant provides child care at other facilities when the center is closed,” Rhine said. “It is a marvelous advantage for student parents.”

Crandall said CSUN students were the right students for the grant.

“The grant helped us to meet a need we weren’t meeting,” he said.

Crandall said the support for early childhood education is similar to financial aid.”Each student’s needs may differ,” Crandall said. “(Financial support) depends upon the circumstances of the family.”

The support comes from three fundamental places, Associated Students, federal or state governments and students. (Are there other places?)

The center is currently licensed to provide child care for 140 children and, according to Rhine, 130 children are enrolled at the center.

“We will not be able to service as many families as we have in the last four years,” Crandall said.

Lackey expressed dissapointment, but she is still hopeful.

“It hurts because (the grant) helps with quality care, but we will keep chugging along,” Lackey said. “We will continue to apply for more grants.”

The FCC network has been funded primarily from the California Department of Education, Lackey said.

Lackey said the goal for the center and the FCC Network is to recruit more providers and fund more families and improve the quality of the program through enhancements.

“We will continue with that and take a portion of CCAMPIS and increase the size,” Lackey said.

Valencia Bankston can be reached vbankston97@hotmail.com.