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Child development center helps student parents

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When a student walks onto campus from the parking garage at Cosumnes River College, they pass an outdoor play area often bustling with children laughing and playing but what they don’t see is the relief of parents who are able to attend college because of the subsidized child care they are being provided.


Many parents who are interested in going back to school often delay their education for several years until their children are old enough to go to public kindergarten.


“I didn’t attend CRC when he was younger because I couldn’t afford child care,” said Anna Escobar, a 37-year-old early childhood education student.


Escobar said she always planned on going back to school to get her degree but had to wait five years until her son was old enough to be in public school. Now she said she also receives assistance from the CRC Child Development Center which offers state subsidized child care to students based on their economic needs.

 

A study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute in 2016 found that, “In 33 states and the District of Columbia, infant care costs exceed the average cost of in-state college tuition at public 4-year institutions.”


The CDC on campus helps students by providing subsidized childcare and education to children ages three to 11.  Some of these students wouldn’t be able to attend school or would be limited on the classes they could take based on whatever help they could cobble together from friends and family.


“My mom was watching him at the time, but she was working so I had to take classes on her schedule,” said Diane Arias, a 28-year-old nursing major referring to how she attended school when her son was a baby. “It’s taken me a little longer than I wanted to do school.”


Arias said her three-year-old son also attends the CRC Child Development Center but she is pregnant again and she isn’t sure how she is going to finish school, since the center does not offer infant care.


The position on having two children is one that the EPI study found was particularly burdensome on families. In 500 of 618 areas studied around the country the average cost of child care exceeded the average cost of rent for families with two children.


This can make those who are able to obtain child care through CRC overwhelmed with gratitude.


“I have had student parents break out into tears when they heard they got a spot,” said Jennifer Patrick, director of the CDC. “They are just so relieved and that’s such a huge burden off of them.”


Patrick has worked in the CDC for 16 years and has been the director for 3 years. She said she knows that many prospective students have to work full time just to afford child care and can’t even consider going to school without help.


“I imagine if you have an infant and toddler you are going to have to work just to pay for child care,” Patrick said.


The data website Kidsdata shows that the average monthly cost of child care for a family with an infant and a toddler enrolled in a daycare center would be $1,750 per month. To give some perspective, the average rent of a two-bedroom apartment in Sacramento in April was $1,200, according to analysis by apartmentlist.com.


This can leave student parents hoping that they can get a spot in the CDC.


“A lot of them (students) tell me, ‘if I don’t get child care here I can’t go to school’,” said Patrick. “So I try to get everybody in that I can.”


For more information about the CDC please visit their page on the CRC website at: https://www.crc.losrios.edu/services/cdc


Additional information on child care assistance in Sacramento can be found at:
https://wp.childaction.org/cel/

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Child development center helps student parents