Friday, April 20 , 2018, 12:01 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Allan Hancock College Gets $400,000 Grant to Help Low-Income, Military Students with Child Care

A four-year, $400,000 grant has been awarded to Allan Hancock College by the U.S. Department of Education to support campus-based child-care services.

The grant specifically targets military-connected student-parents and/or families with children with special developmental and/or health needs. Child Care Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grants are used to subsidize the cost of child care/early childhood education to help parents stay focused on their studies and graduation goals.

The grant to Hancock is one of 58 (out of 240 applicants) awarded to community colleges and universities across the country to provide child-care services for Pell-eligible students. Pell is federal post-secondary education grant funding. At Hancock, at least 40 additional full-time child-care slots will be subsidized over the four-year project period. In addition, student-parents will be linked with the resources and services they will need to increase their success, retention and completion.

At Allan Hancock College, CCAMPIS funds will be used to establish a Twilight Childcare Program for evening students and to provide professional development for faculty and staff to ensure they can address the unique issues and needs experienced by children in military-connected families.

“With more than 2,800 military personnel and more than 3,700 military family members in the region, we continue to be committed to ensuring that our faculty and staff embrace and understand the unique challenges faced by military-connected students and their children,” said Allan Hancock College Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers, Ph.D. “This includes the social, emotional and learning challenges specific to students and their children whose family members may be deployed or injured.”

Also part of the grant will be relevant educational materials, parent workshops and program brochures for Spanish/English publication and presentation.

“Making education accessible for all students should be our top priority,” Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, said. “Allan Hancock is making education a reality for many parents who might not otherwise have the chance to go to school.  This grant supports not only military-connected student parents, but also families with children who have special developmental or health needs. That means more people are receiving the training they need to enter the job market to support their families — a benefit to them, their children and our community.”

Thesa Roepke, a Hancock early childhood studies instructor who helped develop the grant application, said the college especially needs to ensure that children have a stable classroom environment and that faculty and staff recognize signs of stress in preschool children who may not be able to verbalize their needs.

“This CCAMPIS grant will enable us to develop strategies that support resiliency in military-connected students and their children,” Roepke said.

According to Ardis Neilsen, academic dean, the goal of the CCAMPIS initiative is to remove child care as a barrier to students’ educational attainment. Subsidized child care allows students to stay in school, potentially reducing the time needed to complete college degrees and certificates. The grant has several specific objectives:

» Expand the number of subsidized childcare slots, prioritizing enrollment of military-connected families and/or families with children with special needs;

» Ensure that CCAMPIS student-parents develop student education plans and are linked with the resources and services needed to ensure their retention and completion;

» Strengthen the link between the Early Childhood Studies program and the Children’s Center (lab school) by implementing a full inclusion program for children with special needs;

» Ensure faculty, staff and parents’ knowledge of the unique issues and needs experienced by children in military-connected families is enhanced;

» Reduce student-parent time to completion of coursework by expanding hours of operation to include a Twilight Childcare Program for evening students;

» Provide research-based supplemental educational materials and parent education workshops in Spanish and English.

Neilsen added that the CCAMPIS program at Hancock will have an important impact not only on the lives of student-parents and their children, but on the college as a whole.

“The ultimate impact of providing reliable, high-quality campus-based childcare is that student-parents can pursue their education without worrying about their children. State-of-the-art early childhood education starts children on a pathway for healthy development and readiness for kindergarten,” she said. “When children “attend school” together with their parents, they acclimate to a learning environment, which increases the child’s educational aspirations.”

— Sonja Oglesby is a public affairs technician for Allan Hancock College.

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