CCAMPIS grant to help students pay for child care


Cindy Rickeman, University Relations

A newly-funded grant will help some South Dakota State University students with children pay their child care expenses while attending school.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the $164,000, four-year CCAMPIS grant (Child Care Access Means Parents In School) paves the way for a joint venture between SDSU and the United Retirement Center (URC) child care facility in Brookings.

URC, a skilled nursing, assisted living and congregate apartments facility, opened its Easter Seals Child Development Center in July and has agreed to reserve some of its spaces for the children of SDSU students. Sally Damm,director of the United Retirement Center, said the child development center can currently accommodate 40 children. They’re planning to break ground for a new facility in early spring 2003, which will allow them to care for 120 children, she said.

All full and part-time SDSU students are eligible to apply for a CCAMPIS grant. There are no financial parameters to qualifying, but applicants must first fill out a Child Care Assistance of South Dakota form. Financial assistance will be awarded according to need, number of credits the student’s enrolled in and other criteria.

“We’re really trying to bring child care costs down to a level where quality care becomes affordable to our students,” said Laurie Stenberg-Nichols, dean of the SDSU College of Family and Consumer Sciences, whose faculty played a major role in writing the grant application. “This program could cover up to 50 percent of child care costs.”

Part of the grant requires a strong academic tie between URC and SDSU.

For the Family and Consumer Sciences early childhood education program, that’s a perfect fit.

“It is a beautiful fit for us,” Nichols said. “We’re excited about it.”

The University already has a strong connection with the United Retirement Center. Many students across campus gain experience at URC. With a growing early childhood education program, it’s important to have expanded placement opportunities.”

This venture will also benefit the people who live at URC.

“It’s truly an intergenerational opportunity for everybody,” said Ruth Manson, grants coordinator in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at SDSU. “The residents come in and interact and play with the children.”

“It’s fun for us to have the college students here,” Damm said. “It keeps us young.”

Monthly rates at the Easter Seals Child Development Center range from $300 to $435, depending on the child’s age and whether part-time or full-time care is provided. The costs are higher-end because the center offers unique services, such as caring for special needs children, accepting children four weeks to 14 years of age, having nursing and medical staff available and operating 365 days a year.

The grant was written by Damm and an SDSU team consisting of Nichols,

Manson, Dr. Marysz Rames, dean of Student Affairs, Karyn Weber, director of Personnel, Dr. Kay Cutler, assistant professor of early childhood education, Lynda VenHuizen, instructor of early childhood education, and Pam Henning of the Family Resource Network.

For more information about the child care services grant, call Ruth Mansonat the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, (605) 688-5758.