Cal Poly Pomona’s Children’s Center, which operates under Associated Students Inc. (ASI), has been awarded the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program Grant (CCAMPIS) and will receive $1.3 million over the course of four years.
The funding, which is a federal grant, has been awarded to the Division of Student Affairs at CPP and will be distributed with $327,000 annually to the Children’s Center. The funding will go toward upgrading facilities and a new pilot program.
According to the Children’s Center director, Celeste Salinas, the first year of funding will be focused on an evening child care pilot program that will add a session from 6-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday during the spring 2020 semester. Children from 18 months to 5 years old will be allowed to participate in the new pilot program.
One of the pilot program’s goals is to gather data on how many parents will actually use the new services being offered. As a direct result of receiving the grant, the pilot program will be free of charge.
According to Salinas, the first year will include hiring an additional staff member whose primary purpose will be to support student parents by helping them find services they need on and off campus.
“We’re hoping by the end of year two to be able to have added an infant classroom to our center and a one-year-old classroom,” Salinas said. The center currently has one classroom for children from 18 months to 3 years old and an additional three classrooms for preschool.
At the Children’s Center, student-parents are given priority in the enrollment process, followed by staff and faculty. “Because we are on a campus, we want to help students work towards graduation and help close the equity gap,” Salinas said.
However, senior e-business student Gabriel Rios believes the center still has room for improvement. “I wanted to apply for the Children’s Center, the cost is cheaper than regular daycare depending on your income, but I found it was still too expensive despite my family’s overall income.”
Rios also feels the center does not adequately prioritize student-parents starting with the overall cost. “To have a children’s center focused on students first should be a priority; it should be included in tuition or at a severely reduced cost,” Rios said.
Although the center will now receive extra funding to address issues like the one Rios has faced, the center is still struggling with the overall size of the facilities. The center, which is estimated to have between 50-70 children per day, is cooperating with CPP facilities in search of a temporary solution to care for additional children.
Currently, the Children’s Center is only licensed to care for a maximum of 71 children per day. An expansion for the center would also require a new license to care for more children.
The enrollment process consists of a two-page wait list form that must be submitted to the center (Building 116) or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. After submitted, the center will determine if there are currently any spaces available for the child, or if he or she will have to wait until an opening is available.
The waitlist varies for student-parents and CPP faculty and staff. According to Salinas, there has been a great deal of staff and faculty on the waitlist for a long time. The long waitlist period for faculty and staff is a result of prioritizing student-parents first. With the help of the CCAMPIS Grant, the waitlist period is expected to be sped up as upgrades to the facility are made.
For more information on the enrollment process, waitlist and daily rates, visit https://asi.cpp.edu/childrens-center/enrollment-process/. Information regarding volunteering can also be found on the center’s webpage.
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