Support parenting community needs for child care on campus


Kae Takazawa | Special to The Union

Parent students failing their classes because they don’t have someone to take care of their children and childhood education students lacking access to a laboratory school for on-site training are reasons why El Camino College needs a Child Development Center (CDC).

The Union’s Editorial Board believes reopening the CDC will serve the needs of El Camino’s parenting community as well as childhood education students.

A letter of support to bring awareness to the need for accessible child care on campus for the parenting community and childhood education students was recently introduced at the Academic Senate meeting and presented at the Comprehensive Integrated Plan meeting on May 19, according to childhood education faculty Cynthia Cervantes.

Cervantes said the Academic Senate, Associated Students Organization and college administration are aware of the need for child care on campus.

After The Board of Trustees voted to accept former President Tom Fallo’s recommendation to authorize the closure of the CDC in October 2013 due to the low enrollment, the center closed in June 2014.

With the absence of child care on campus, eligible parent students can receive support from the CARE, EOPS and CalWORKs programs at El Camino College.  

CARE Student Services Coordinator Leslie Delgado said some students fail their classes and can’t concentrate on their school work because they need help with child care. Delgado said having a child care center would change educational outcomes for parenting students and increase completion rates. 

Delgado added that CARE provides grants ranging between $1500 to $3000 each spring and fall semester for single parents who receive government cash aid. Students are able to use this assistance to help pay for housing, food and child care expenses. 

Delgado said the CARE program has 79 students in the spring 2023 semester. However, the population of student parents at El Camino College is larger than these numbers because CARE only serves single-parent students.

The EOPS program supports student parents who are going to school full-time. CARE Student Services Advisor Jazlyn Landaverde said there are students who don’t qualify for the EOPS program because they can’t be full-time students while being a parent to multiple children. 

Landaverde added the reason why parent students do not come to school is because they have nowhere to put their kids. She said enrollment could go up by providing child care services to students.

Responding to the idea of reopening the CDC, acting Vice President of Student Services Robin Dreizler said the college would look at the costs associated with the center and how to offset some of those costs.

Academic Senate President Darcie McClelland said it would take careful planning to reopen the CDC because of the high cost associated with the initiative while the college faces budget ramifications for the next couple of years due to enrollment decline.

By comparison, all community colleges in the area have a Child Development Center, including Harbor College, Compton College, Cerritos College, West Los Angeles and Long Beach City College. The child care services at these colleges are open for students and staff. They receive federal and state child care vouchers and have subsidized fees to make them free or low-cost.

Cerritos College charges a monthly tuition fee of $991 for non-subsidized families for full-time child care. However, subsidized child care is made available to parents who have federal and state grants and aids including CalWORKsCalifornia State Preschool and Crystal Stairs Inc.

Moreover, Harbor City College CDC has fees based on a sliding scale which is determined by the number of families and the family’s gross income. However, parents with child care grants may be able to use the services at no charge or for a minimal fee. 

El Camino College can take the best practices from other colleges in providing and operating affordable child care on campus. The college can have parents pay for the child care services through a sliding scale based on their income and subsidies from federal and state grants. 

In addition, there are other available sources of funding including Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grants from the Department of Education which has the purpose to provide campus-based child care services. 

According to former El Camino College CARE Advisor Breeanna Bond, the college was awarded CCAMPIS grants to fund the CDC in the past. Bond said CCAMPIS is one of the few grants that can be used for the infrastructure cost of the CDC.

Many community colleges in the Los Angeles area including Santa Monica College, Los Angeles Valley College, Pasadena City College and Cerrito Colleges, received CCAMPIS grants for the year 2022-2023.

Child care is a basic need for student parents. This need must be met for students to succeed in college. Besides child care issues, parenting students still face other challenges, including juggling work and school. 

Furthermore, El Camino’s future childhood educators also need a campus center to gain hands-on experience while taking classes.

The Union’s Editorial Board suggests reopening the CDC to provide affordable child care, increase students’ success rate and help close the equity gap for El Camino’s parenting community.