The college was awarded a four-year, $60,740 grant by the U.S. Department of Education’s Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. The grant will allow the college’s on-campus child care facility, the Center for Families (CFF), to offer sliding scale rates for child care and the use of child care subsidies to low-income students who qualify.
The grant is the third renewal of the college’s CCAMPIS funding. Funding from 2013-17 allowed for 36 Edmonds CC students to receive reduced-rate costs or to use subsidies.
As a single mother of two, Edmonds CC student Taylor Mathena said paying full-price for child care, which could cost upwards of $6,000 per quarter at CFF, was not an option for her.
“It has solely been the Center for Families as my support network as far as being a mother goes, especially a mother in poverty who can’t afford a babysitter,” she said.
As a Pell grant recipient and Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) beneficiary, Mathena qualified for assistance. Without it, she said she would not be able to stay in school, and she’s not alone.
According to a CCAMPIS parent-student survey, 20 percent of Edmonds CC students said they could not have enrolled in college if not for the financial support provided by the grant. Additionally, 100 percent said they could not complete their program of study without this support.
“CCAMPIS has been an essential program at Edmonds CC and a clear contributor to student success,” said CFF Director Lisa Neumann.
CFF has an “open door” policy for students whose families receive benefits from DSHS, which provides child care subsidies. About 50 percent of the CFF’s grant beneficiaries use their DSHS subsidies, while the other half is eligible for sliding scale fees which could be up to a 15 percent reduction in monthly fees.
DSHS establishes a copay for each family, which averages about $15 per month, and the family’s subsidy then covers a portion of the remaining fees.
“We take a significant revenue loss by being an open door to DSHS recipients,” Neumann said, “however, if we didn’t accept DSHS we may not have any enrollment because the majority of CFF families receive subsidies.”
With DSHS subsidies, Mathena said she could choose which licensed child care center to enroll her kids in. She chose CFF, which serves children ages 3 months to 5 years, because of its high-quality level of care.
“This is the only place I trust with the care of my 4-year-old daughter, who has special needs, and my 1.5-year-old son,” she said.
In addition to helping students cover child care costs, Neumann said the grant helps the center support an additional teacher’s salary and offer staffing ratios that exceed the state’s requirement.
“CCAMPIS funding enhances our ability to offer the highest quality programs by keeping extra teachers in the classroom,” she said.
More teachers means children at CFF receive more individualized instruction and care.
“Without the CCAMPIS funding, we would have to reduce our staffing levels,” Neumann said. “There would be significantly more children per teacher, which would reduce our ability to connect as quickly and as deeply with each of the children.”
This would also significantly impact the center’s ability to serve children with special needs, which is currently about a quarter of its program.
“We’ve been commended for the work we do for supporting children with special needs to be in our classrooms,” Neumann said. “While we can’t serve all those with special needs, we have found there are some we can.
“We’ve been able to fill a critical gap in services for our families with special needs children.”
For Mathena, CFF has provided a place where her daughter has been able overcome social and emotional barriers with the help of her teacher, gain access to individualized programs, and most of all – thrive.
“When I drop my kids off at CFF, I know that they are safe, loved, and emotionally, physically, and spiritually supported,” Mathena said.
Knowing this, she is able to focus on being a student. Since 2015, she’s earned her GED and is now working toward an associate’s degree in accounting. She also has a 4.0 GPA.
Since fall 2013, of 21 Edmonds CC student-parents who have received CCAMPIS support 19 percent completed a GED, 38 percent at least one certificate program, 52 percent a short certificate, and/or 57 percent a transfer degree.
The CCAMPIS grant has also allowed CFF to meet accreditation standards and to be a member of the Early Achievers (EA) program, which is a statewide system of high-quality early learning and child care. CFF has received EA recognition for its strength in family support and professionalism.
For more information about CFF, visit edcc.edu/families.