Pomona, Ca -The Cal Poly Pomona Children’s Center will become one of only three CSU campuses to offer evening childcare for student parents when it pilots service Monday through Thursday, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., beginning with the spring 2020 semester. The project is supported by a four-year, $1.3 million federal grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.
“Adding evening child care will give our student parents the flexibility to take evening classes and help them stay on track for graduation,” says Celeste Salinas, director of the Children’s Center.
The grant will also fund the addition of infant care and expansion of toddler care spaces by fall 2021 through funding for additional staff, furnishing classrooms, upgrading facilities and professional development for teachers. The university’s division of Student Affairs is contributing an additional $500,000 to the project.
The Children’s Center is currently open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and has space for 71 children, ages 18 months through 5 years. There is a waiting list of 78 children.
The expansion will add care for six infants and nine one-year-old children, the areas of greatest need according to interviews with 75 Cal Poly Pomona student parents, conducted by Brianne Dávila, associate professor of sociology, and Giselle Navarro-Cruz, assistant professor of early childhood education.
To provide additional help to all student parents on campus, the center will also hire a new student parent success coach to help them navigate the university, access parent resources and find low-cost childcare for those who have children not enrolled at the center. The grant will also help offset childcare costs for income-eligible students.
A 2009 study of childcare needs at the university found sufficient need to support, at minimum, a center that would serve 150 children. Since then, the student population has increased from just over 20,000 students to almost 26,000.
Approximately 56% of Cal Poly Pomona students are the first in their family to attend college, and 76% receive financial aid. In 2017-18, 31 graduates were student parents served by the Children’s Center.
“The Children’s Center provides support for student parents, faculty, and staff throughout CPP by providing a safe, local and educational environment for their children. This additional funding will allow the Center to serve even more Broncos, create more family-oriented events, and help our future Broncos succeed,” said Rocio Antonio-Martinez, ASI Greek senator and a member of the parent advisory board.
Established in 1974, the Children’s Center at Cal Poly Pomona is accredited by NAEYC and operates under the administration and support of both Associated Students, Inc (ASI) and the Division of Student Affairs.