University receives grant to support undergraduates with children

By The Daily Illini Staff Report

Undergraduate students, who are also parents, can sometimes be at risk of not finishing their education. However, the Department of Education has granted the University $419,000 to fund child care.

After receiving the grant, the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program will continue to provide support for low-income undergraduate students with children at the University through the Child Development Laboratory (CDL).

According to the Illinois News Bureau, Alicia Walker, parent liaison for CCAMPIS and graduate student in social work, has recruited two to three student parents for the program. She and Brent McBride, director of CDL, are continuing to reach out to various entities on campus to raise awareness for the program, the report said.

McBride said students will have to apply separately for a child’s enrollment into the CDL child care facilities and to receive support through CCAMPIS.

Along with funding from the grant, CCAMPIS also plans to help undergraduates with children through biweekly support group meetings called Student Parents Talking Together. The meetings will consist of sharing a meal and discussing various topics, including sharing information about resources. Child care will be provided during the meetings.

“If you’re an undergraduate student on our campus and you do have a young child under the age of five, you’re kind of isolated,” McBride said. “So the Student Parent Talking Together groups are a chance on a biweekly basis for these students, who are receiving a service through a grant, to come together to talk, and they have a facilitator who will help facilitate the conversations in the meetings.”

Another support service of the program involves providing new undergraduates, who are pregnant or have children, with mentors who have experience in this area. Walker will also determine what other resources, such as food and clothing, the parents need.

McBride said due to how expensive child care is, on top of the costs associated with attending college, these costs all combined, act as a barrier for a student to complete their education.

“The biggest majority of funding will go to provide financial support for the childcare services for the children because that’s one of the biggest barriers to undergraduate students, who are parents, to complete their degrees,” he said. “They have to provide for their child while they’re taking classes, and childcare is very very expensive.”

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