Is Child Care on Your Back to School List?
By Lauren Robertson, Digital Advocacy Manager
As Susan Warfield prepares for another school year as the director of the University of Minnesota’s Student Parent HELP Center, child care is on her mind. As parenting students return to campus, Warfield checks in with them: Do you know where all your classes are? Have you ordered your textbooks? Do you have accessible, safe, and quality child care locked down for the semester?
The Student Parent HELP Center does more than help parents find and pay for child care: they host campus visits and other events for students and their children, provide academic coaching, host a welcoming space for student parents to study and relax, and promote family-friendly policies on campus.
But, reliable child care supports the foundation for success of student parents: “Child care is one cornerstone that leads to success of student parents in college,” Warfield comments from her small office that overlooks the Mississippi River, “And we know parents’ academic success impacts the future outcomes of their children.”
Over one out of four college students is also a parent. According to numerous studies, the number of parents attending college has grown significantly over the last 15 years while many colleges have simultaneously eliminated child care services, leaving parents with the burden of trying to find safe, quality care while balancing their course schedule.
Fortunately, there is a federal grant program that helps make a difference. The Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) Improvement Act of 2017 is the only federal program that supports child care services for low-income parents in college, and campus-based services are provided year-round.
The Student Parent HELP Center has benefited from CCAMPIS funds in the past and currently implements two grant-based child care subsidy programs: the state-funded Postsecondary Child Care Grant and the university-funded University Student Services Fees Child Care Assistance Grant.
Earlier this year, Congress agreed to a two-year budget deal that would provide billions in new funding for early education programs. In the FY 2018 budget, CCAMPIS received a $35 million increase ($50 million), which will help this program expand to new college campuses for the first time in years.
Parenting students are not going away and their demographic is only growing as more and more adults attend college. Child care is a necessity for student parents and CCAMPIS creates opportunities to support students and their children, supporting a two-generation model for success.
Ask your members of Congress to maintain their support for CCAMPIS by opposing any reduction in funding in the FY 2019 budget.