September 29, 2021
The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) Early Childhood Center has been awarded a $1.4 million Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS) grant from the US Department of Education. The mission of CCAMPIS program is to provide high quality early childhood care and education for low-income student parents so they can persist and graduate from degree programs. The four-year grant period—$356,930 allocated each year—begins October 1 according to the BMCC Office of Sponsored Programs.
“The grant will fund our classrooms and ensure student parents have access to child care, family engagement activities and mental health support services available to help them persist,” explained Cecilia Scott-Croff, Executive Director at the BMCC Early Childhood Center.
Since its establishment in 1984, the BMCC Early Childhood Center has served more than 5,000 children and families. Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Center serves pre-school children two to five years old as well as weekend services for children ages six to 12 years old. Programs are taught by New York state-certified teachers and artists and supported by a BMCC administrative team that fosters parent involvement and student engagement.
Student-parents, especially single-student-parents, face significant challenges to success in postsecondary education. The obstacles presented by concentrations of poverty, and geographic isolation affect low-income student-parents at BMCC according to Scott-Croff.
Childcare services are offered at little to no cost for student-parents. The Center’s sliding scale allows student-parents to contribute a small fee of $5 to $35 dollars each week toward the cost of child care. Those nominal fees have been waived because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
BMCC’s Early Childhood Center has recently been the subject of glowing national media coverage including a 2020 cover article for Child Care Exchange Magazine as well as a groundbreaking profile of a BMCC nursing program graduate, originally published in The Hechinger Report then syndicated by USA Today as well as several other news outlets. In that story, nursing graduate Marleny Hernandez, a high school dropout and mother of four who overcame years of obstacles, told reporter Liz Willen that her ability to persist and graduate was due to the available childcare services available at BMCC.
Willen’s article noted that overall, students who are parents are 10 times less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree within five years than students who are not.
Between 2019 and 2021, BMCC’s Early Childhood Center served 125 children through its last round of CCAMPIS funding. Based upon the BMCC programs waitlist and the college’s anticipated enrollment coupled by the return to in person learning, the Center projects a significant uptick in childcare enrollment in 2021 and 2022.
The Center maintains a semester by semester waiting list due to the hours of childcare needed by student-parents. For spring 2021, the Center started the year with a waiting list of fifteen pre-school children.
For more information about BMCC’s Early Childhood Center, visit the program’s webpage here.
NOTE: The services provided by the Early Childhood Center relate to BMCC’s strategic goals by improving learning through culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogy and support.
- Funds are from Child Care Access Means Parents in School program
- Student-parents, especially single-student-parents, face significant challenges to success in postsecondary education.
- The Center maintains a semester by semester waiting list