“CUNY recognizes the importance of accreditation and it often makes the difference between getting funded and not funded,” says Cecilia Scott-Croff, the Center’s Executive Director. “We have a rich history, including our extensive relationship with the BMCC Teacher Education Department, so we know pedagogically the importance of developmentally appropriate practices with young children. We are also committed to sharing best practices with parents who use the Center.”
Close to 150 children a semester, age two to 12, attend the BMCC Early Childhood Center. “We also have a small Family Childcare Network Program which serves an additional 20 children who are not age eligible for the campus program,” says Scott-Croff. “We have a network of about 15 homes throughout the five boroughs, and we have assigned a Family Childcare Network Coordinator who works here at the BMCC Early Childhood Center and is responsible for managing those homes; making sure their licensure is up to date, that the parents are satisfied with the service, and so on.”
The BMCC Early Childhood Center, Scott-Croff says, “serves single parents, single moms, single dads; a variety of student parents. You have to be a student registered at the college, to place your child at the Center, and we do give priority to our matriculating students but we also have a lot of special populations; veterans, families living in transitional housing and others. That gives us an opportunity to prioritize childcare needs for parents.” Heavily subsidized, the cost to parents and guardians of using the Early Childhood Center ranges from $5 to $35 a week.
Scott-Croff emphasizes the link between academic success for student parents, and access to childcare. “We have U.S. Department of Education funding through a program called CCAMPIS, the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program, and it supports the persistence, retention and graduation of student parents. Data we’ve collected to meet our requirements for the grant indicate, and parents have widely voiced to us, that childcare is a key factor in their staying in school.”
With the new NYSAEYS accreditation, which is renewed every five years, “We will focus more on staff development with our own teaching personnel,” says Scott-Croff. “Also, students doing work study, and those who are interning and volunteering at the Early Childhood Center will benefit.”