Grant will assist student parents in child care costs

Lindsey Hurd

Lindsey Hurd

The United Retirement Center’s Child Development Center, in cooperation with SDSU, has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Education, called Child Care Access Means Parents In School (CCAMPIS) to provide assistance for qualified student parents.

The grant will help defray the cost of childcare at the center for eligible students, which currently is anywhere from $425 to $475 a month.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled at least part-time, eligible for a Pell Grant and enrolled in South Dakota’s childcare assistance program.

The Child Development Center gives preference to the qualified students, who represent more than 30 families on the center’s waiting list of 80 to 100 children. Out of the 45 children attending the center, United Retirment Center administrator Sally Damm estimates that 15 are children of students. There are currently more slots available, and the center will continue to accept applications after these slots are filled. Applicants can apply online though SDSU’s Web site.

Statistics aren’t available for how many student parents are enrolled at SDSU, but Tasiyagnunpa DuBray believes they are underrepresented in the student body. DuBray is a 25-year-old mother of two sons, ages five and one. She’s currently taking a semester off. She said this grant is a good place to start, but more needs to be done to assist student parents.

“It’s not going to cover the needs of every student parent,” DuBray said. “The best daycares in town are always full ahead of time.”

The URC Child Development Center is a licensed child development center and one of only 5 locations in the state accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

The center is open the student-friendly hours of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Saturday.

“I think it can relieve a lot of the stress,” said Ruth Manson, SDSU grants coordinator. “Parents are never in between semesters, and good care can be hard to find.”

Manson also explained that because the center has a registered nurse on duty at all times, it is able to take care of kids that other daycares would not.

Senior journalism major Candice Stangle remembers her childcare search for her 7-month-old daughter Madison. Stangle’s husband is stationed in Iraq, and she’s dealing with the struggles of parenting alone. Before finding a suitable daycare, she was turned down several times because there were no openings. Stangle was under the impression that the Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education Preschool on campus was a daycare.

“When I was pregnant, other people told me there was a daycare on campus,” Stangle said. “That would have been so nice, especially for single parents.”

Both student parents and providers are aware of the childcare deficit in Brookings, but agree that the grant is a step in right direction.

“Right now, there’s a need for childcare in Brookings,” said Dawn Kane, director of the United Retirement Center.

The URC is planning an addition to the childcare facility that will accommodate 84 children.

#1.883700:97773346.jpg:Miles lib color.jpg:Miles Livermont, son of student-parent Tasiyagnunpa DuBray, draws at the Brookings City Public Library.:Tasiyagnunpa DuBray (Courtesy Photo)