Childcare costs in Connecticut can prohibit families and individuals with children from advancing in their careers or education, but a recent grant from the Department of Education will help provide some relief. That relief is thanks to a Department of Education Grant awarded to the Center for Early Childhood Education at NVCC. As the recipient of a Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) four-year grant, NVCC will receive $89,840 yearly that it can offer to Pell-Eligible students to help cover the costs of childcare in its Center while they are enrolled at the College. Federal Pell Grants usually are awarded only to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor's, graduate, or professional degree. NVCC is eligible to re-apply for this grant every 4 years and has designed a program called Childcare Tuition Assistance for Students that will begin this fall.
Beginning this fall, the Center will hold spots for children of students enrolled in the program where 30% of those spots will be for families with toddlers and 30% will be held for families who need pre-k-level childcare. The program is only valid for Pell-eligible students and will cover tuition at the Center for their children for fall and spring semesters. In addition to tuition assistance, parents enrolled in the program will receive Parents as First Teachers Empowerment Trainings. Ten trainings per year will be offered by Center staff, faculty from NVCC’s Early Childhood Education program, and outside experts. The trainings will focus on best practices in childcare and education. As the Center is guided by the Reggio Emilia approach, an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education, the curriculum focuses on the principle that a child’s parents are his or her first teacher, teachers are second, and the environment is third. These empowerment trainings for parents sync up with the Center’s philosophy.
With this funding, NVCC hopes to improve the rates for students with children to succeed academically and complete their educations at NVCC. Childcare costs in Connecticut are expensive, and in some instances can exceed the cost of college tuition. A July, 2018 study conducted by 211 childcare.org, a state-wide organization that provides resources and referrals for parents, stated that the cost of childcare in Connecticut can average between $170-$558 per week, with the average cost being $300 per week or $15,600 per year. While some income-based assistance is currently available throughout the state for childcare, many local families don’t qualify for the Waterbury School Readiness grant and have to pick up the full costs. In other cases, students who are eligible for college year slots at NVCC’s Center, are also faced with the challenge that there is no tuition assistance through programs such as Care 4 Kids as it does not recognize college attendance as a qualifier for childcare assistance.
“We are so excited to be able to offer this opportunity to our student families. Utilizing the Center for their children ensures that our students have time to take classes, complete their coursework and graduate, which equals having more quality time to spend as a family, all while securing their future careers and providing their children with affordable, high-quality childcare and education, ” said Abbie Calo, Director of Child Development.
“The good work being done at NVCC continues to be recognized by federal agencies,” said NVCC’s President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. “The Center for Early Childhood Education at NVCC exemplifies how we care for our most vulnerable population. It is also an integral part of our Early Childhood Education program. I am grateful for the work of NVCC’s talented and caring faculty, staff and administration,” said NVCC’s President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D.
The grant was a collaborative effort between Calo and NVCC’s Development Office with input from Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Lisa Dresdner and Interim Dean of Administration Dana Elm and support from the President.
NVCC’s Center for Early Childhood Education is a state-of-the-art early care and education facility guided by the Reggio Emilia Approach philosophy that has been in operation at the college since 1977. For more information on qualifying and applying for this program, call the Center at 203-596-8604.