Department of Education grant helps student parents with child care costs
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013
MANHATTAN -- Thanks to a federal grant, student parents at Kansas State University will get some more help with child care expenses.
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a Child Care Access Means Parents In School, or CCAMPIS, grant of $420,000 -- $105,000 per year for four years -- to the university's Center for Child Development. Half of the money will go toward stipends for income-eligible student parents, especially those who have infants and toddlers because the cost of their care is more expensive.
"This stipend makes quality child care more affordable so the parents can stay in school at K-State," said Debra Ring, director of the Center for Child Development. "Among other grant requirements, the remaining funding will go toward supporting student parents by hiring a parent support specialist."
The parent support specialist will connect parents with community resources, increase parent involvement and plan events that parents and children can participate in together, Ring said.
"This person will work to increase communication between the classroom and the parents and meet parent needs to decrease their stress and help them stay in college and get their degree," she said. "We also will have a focus on supporting military families, creating a Manhattan and Fort Riley parent resource booklet, and a parent library.
University child care centers across the nation are eligible to apply for CCAMPIS funding. Of the 317 university child care centers that applied this year, only 56 were funded. The grant reviewers rated the Kansas State University Child Development Center very high and awarded it the full amount requested, Ring said.
The center receives funding each year from the Kansas State University's Student Governing Association to reduce the cost of child care for low-income student parents.
"The CCAMPIS program allowed the center to leverage the Student Governing Association money to truly make up the difference between the full cost of care and the amount low-income student parents can afford to pay for child care," Ring said. "Therefore, a portion of the money from this grant will add another level to the center's sliding fee scale to further reduce the fees for low-income parents."
Each year, the on-campus Center for Child Development, which is in a new facility on East Jardine Drive, provides nationally accredited quality early childhood care and education for approximately 200 children of university students, faculty, staff and the community at large. Most of the children at the center -- about 65 percent -- are those of Kansas State University students.
The center provides a safe and secure place for children while their parents work or study. Teachers have early childhood degrees or certifications and are certified in CPR and first aid. The curriculum, which has received national acclaim, is designed to keep children engaged in learning.
"Many K-State students would not have the chance to attend classes if it was not for the Center for Child Development providing an affordable quality program," Ring said. "This new Department of Education grant will provide the support parents need to stay in school and get their degree."