May 12, 2003
TO: Dave Frohnmayer, President
Dan Williams, Vice President for Administration
FROM: Stephanie Bosnyk, Chair, on Behalf of the 2003 Committee on Child Care
and Family Support
SUBJECT: 2002-03 Annual Report
The Committee on Child Care and Family Support submits this report at the end of a year that has seen positive progress in maintaining policies and developing initiatives that recognize the importance of family responsibilities and create a supportive and flexible work environment. This progress has occurred despite dramatic cuts to education and financial support for students with families.
The CCFS Committee commends the university for its ongoing support for family friendly initiatives such as campus child care, Work and Family Services, staff tuition rates for family, access for families to the student recreation center and the development of unit strategies that create flexible and supportive work environments. In this time of national and local fiscal uncertainty and increased demands for shrinking funds, it is critical to recognize the additional stress being placed on many families struggling to manage work and/or school and family life.
This report summarizes the most important issues and events addressed by the committee during the past year and includes unmet goals as well as committee recommendations.
1. Services and Programs
a. UO-Affiliated Child Care
The Committee continues to be attentive to the issues of the four different child-care options on campus, and acknowledges the benefits of both the diversity of options and their collaboration.
UO-Affiliated Child Care Directors Consortium
This year, the directors of the three center-based child care programs renewed their commitment to collaboration and met regularly with the work and family services administrator. Their projects included coordinated discussion with staff from the Department of Public Safety to develop a comprehensive emergency procedures manual for all campus child care programs.
While reviewing charts of this year’s use and costs of the centers, and discussing the status of their waiting lists, we observed that the highest demand is for the costliest care: infant care, where the high charges to parents are not able to cover actual expenses. We have asked Karen Logvin, work and family services administrator, to focus on a breakdown of use and expenses that clarifies what portion of actual costs parents pay for care for different ages: infant, toddler, pre-school, school-age. In addition, our concern was fueled by learning that the new facility to be built on Moss Street will leave an infant room empty until after-school care is sufficiently developed and able to under-write the cost of infant care. This predicament revived interest in reviewing possibilities for paid leaves for parents to care for children until they reach the age of 12 months.
RECOMMENDATION: that Karen Logvin collect the relevant data, broken down by age group, including information on wait-list or unfilled vacancies, and that the complexities of infant care be made an area of study next year.
EMU Child Care and Development Centers (CCDC) Update
The year began with the exciting news that CCDC has again met national accreditation standards. The National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, the standard of excellence in the profession, issued re-accreditation to the centers. Nationwide, less than 5% of child care programs have met this standard of excellence.
While continuing to operate all current programs, this has been a year of planning for construction of a new facility, The Moss Street Children’s Center. The classrooms have continued to operate within a flexible scheduling model that makes it possible to provide service to more student families while reducing the cost of care to users as they can opt to schedule less care. Weekly, over 160 families utilize 112 current slots. CCDC has 100 students who work in the classrooms each week as work study employees, volunteers, and practicum students.
The planning process for the new facility included an extended site selection and approval process and appeal of the conditional use permit. These issues were successfully resolved and culminated with President Frohnmayer and other guests joining children and staff at the official groundbreaking ceremony on April 10. Construction has begun! The new energy efficient facility is slated to open January 2004.
The EMU Board approved the first CCDC operating budget that includes the Moss Street Children’s Center. That budget reflects the increased costs that must be borne by parent users and fee-paying students as the in-kind support received from the institution will lessen with residence in the new facility. CCDC must now assume responsibility for an estimated $11,000 per year in utilities and the full cost of building maintenance. University administration previously provided these services in the East Campus houses and the EMU facilities budget was responsible for maintenance in the EMU building. In addition, the center must assume full responsibility for custodial services that are now covered in part by other EMU budgets.
These costs will be met through an increase in both the child care tuition rate to parents and an increased allocation from student fees. Support from student government remains strong, but in a time of increased university tuition, its capacity to fund student child care is limited.
University Housing also continues to be supportive. It has made continuing improvements to the child care facility at Westmoreland and continues to pay utility and maintenance costs at that site. Those sites also were the beneficiaries of playground improvements funded by a Weyerhaeuser Foundation grant and built with parent labor.
RECOMMENTATION: that the University administration continue a subsidy to the Moss Street Children’s Center to help offset utilities, maintenance, and custodial services.
Spencer View Co-op Family Center Update
The Co-op Family Center at Spencer View serves student, faculty and staff families by providing daily care for 90 children aged eight weeks to 10 years. Parents are able to be involved in their children's care on a regular basis. By co-oping at the Center, parents are able to reduce their child's tuition costs. The Co-op Family Center is state certified and recently received accreditation through the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs. The Co-op is a not-for profit program that contracts with the ASUO to provide child care in the Spencer View facility.
McKenzie Parent and Baby Co-op Update
This established infant care space for faculty, staff and student parent use is a valued resource for those families with young infants.
Vivian Olum Child Development Center Update
This year the Vivian Olum Center was under the leadership of a new director with extensive expertise from the University of Michigan child care system. The center’s infant and toddler programs were again full with waiting lists, underscoring the need for more care for children under the age of three. This spring the center completed its application process for accreditation by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs.
b. PLC Family Resource Room Update
The university’s first established lactation support space finished its second year, again serving the needs of nursing mothers, who included faculty, staff and students.
The Committee commends the leadership of the University Health and Counseling Centers for their decision to include a lactation support room in the plans for their new facility. Karen Logvin, work and family services administrator, will be working next year with staff from the Planning Office and the Health and Counseling Centers to develop plans for the space.
c. PARS Family Member Use
Family usage at the Rec Center continues to be at low levels. For 2002-03 the highest usage came in Winter Term 2003 (113), followed by Fall Term 2002 (48), with drastically reduced numbers during the summer and break periods. PARS administration and staff would appreciate any support in the way of encouraging families to use the facility. The hours for family times continue to be on the weekends during the terms, and all open times during the term breaks. At that time all areas of the facility that are regularly open are open during family usage: ball courts, pool, and gym are all open. Dennis Munroe, Director of PARS, is committed to continue providing this service for the low rate of $1.00 per family member. We commend PARs for the continued provision of this service at a low cost.
RECOMMENDATION: that next year’s committee focus on identifying ways to improve access and climate for non-traditional students, including parents (e.g., music selection, targeted group activities).
2. Campus Climate & Policies to Support a Family-Friendly Workspace
The continued and increasing need for more available child care for faculty and staff with children age 3 and under was also raised. In one instance this involved a newly hired faculty of color with an infant who could not find openings in UO campus-based child care facilities, and experienced a near two-year waiting list. In attempts to find child care in the Eugene community, she visited several facilities. One facility was recommended to her as “a child care center that many faculty and staff use and have found to be very good.” Her interview with the facility director resulted in a negative racial/cultural experience that reflects the unfortunate experiences parents of color with children of color often face in our homogenous community. After two years of pulling together different forms of in-home care, baby-sitters, a community child care center, and juggling among co-parents, her child was finally admitted to the Spencer View Co-op at the age of 28 months. This example and others alerted the committee to the dire need for more institutional support for on-campus child care. It also reflects the need for cultural awareness of situations that faculty and staff of color face --- different experiences and often negative encounters with racially insensitive facilities in the community. This affects UO diversity and retention of faculty of color with young children.
RECOMMENDATION: that notice re: the Family-Friendly policy, Baby Rooms, Lactation Space, as well as child care centers be made available not only at supervisory training but through different access points in Human Resources, such as when maternity leaves are received and when newborn dependents are added to employee health insurance plans. In its desire to serve and retain members of its learning community, the university needs to understand that access to child care for children under 3 is a critical issue.
b. Positive Examples Brochure
Work by Mary Wood and Deb Casey to collect positive examples of family-friendly practices across campus has developed into a multi-faceted project. After consolidating the material into a brochure for administrators as well as a collection of suggestions and quotes for parents looking for support, they have reassessed the two separate projects and recombined the material. The brochure is now a pamphlet that should serve all audiences concerned with balancing work/family responsibilities. Casey is presenting a finalized draft at the June meeting, asking for input. The pamphlet should be ready for distribution in Fall 2003.
RECOMMENDATION: an online connection should be offered and funds be available to allow distribution of hard copies to each department.
3. Education and Outreach
a. ASUO Child Care Task Force
The ASUO CCTF is a committee of students and faculty that oversees the ASUO Child Care Subsidy Program. In years past, this committee has also served as an advisory and advocacy body on behalf of student parents, but it has experienced a reduction in scope in recent years. This year the ASUO Nontraditional Student Advocate worked along side participating student parents and the Nontraditional Student Union (NSU) to revitalize the ASUO CCTF to meet broader student parent needs on the local, state, and national levels. It is working closely with other organizations, such as the NSU and OSA, to insure that student parent issues are identified and addressed.
The Creighton Scholarship
One of the many emerging projects from the ASUO Child Care Task Force is the development of a student-fundraised scholarship for needy and achieving student parents. It will be administered through the ASUO CCTF and awarded on an annual basis. The scholarship is named after Jennifer Creighton-Neiwert in recognition of her tireless hours giving stability and support to the ASUO student government office, its executive members, its programs, and specifically the ASUO Child Care Subsidy Program. Complementing this function, the scholarship serves as an example of students taking on greater autonomy and addressing issues in an immediate “hands on” approach.
b. Family-Friendly Campus Map Project
Work continues on the development of a campus map that highlights locations, facilities and services of interest to children and families. The project is expected to be completed by late summer 2003. The map will be available both in print and on the web. This campus resource will be maintained by Work and Family Services in the Department of Human Resources.
c. GTF Family Issues Advocate Position
The Committee commends the GTFF for continuing to prioritize the needs of graduate student parents and the Graduate School for funding a GTF position to work under the direction of the work and family services administrator. The position is dedicated to examining relevant issues and advocating for graduate student parents.
d. Parking and Family Issues
Parents with children and faculty/staff with elder care responsibilities continue to have parking difficulties on campus. Most faculty and staff do not know they can apply for reserved parking. The University Library is now accessible to the community and when construction is completed on the Art Museum, more members of the public will visit campus. Also, while the university encourages the public to come to campus, parking access remains problematic.
RECOMMENDATION: Parking lot signs need to clearly convey that lots are open for public use on weekends. Public Safety should note in their Parking Manual that reserved parking for special needs (child care, elder care, etc) can be obtained through a special approval process.
4. Financial Support and Fundraising
a. Child-Care Assistance Proposal for the new UO Campaign
This year, Karen Logvin, work and family services administrator and Dennis Reynolds, EMU child care coordinator, submitted a proposal to establish an endowed fund for a child care tuition assistance program for faculty and staff users of campus-affiliated child care programs. This proposal was approved by the respective vice-presidents and forwarded on to the central committee evaluating the submissions for the new campaign.
The committee commends the administration’s decision to move this proposal forward to the central committee. As mentioned earlier in this report, the bulk of operating costs of the campus child care centers currently is provided by tuition and fees paid by the parent users. As the cost of providing high quality services with a classified workforce steadily increases, the programs find themselves becoming less affordable to many of their targeted users.
Both undergraduate and graduate students currently can receive assistance for their child care costs from several sources, but no assistance is available to faculty, postdoctoral students and staff. Establishment of an endowed fund for employee child care assistance would address this predicament and substantially meet several criteria defined as priorities for the new UO campaign.
RECOMMENDATION: that the central committee making the final selection for campaign proposals include the endowment of UO child care tuition-assistance.
b. Child Care Financial Assistance for Student Parents
ASUO Child Care Subsidy Program
This year the ASUO Child Care Subsidy Program served 195 needy student parent families by reimbursing them a portion of their child care bill every month.
Student Block Grant
This statewide program, originally funded by federal child care block grant funds was cut from budgets during the special legislative session with the funds allocated to other child care projects. Block grant allocation decisions are made by an interagency advisory group that, at present, does not include higher education representation. At this point, legislation to maintain the program with zero funding in the current biennium seems likely.
Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS)
This federal grant program has assisted 15 to 34 Pell Grant eligible student families for the past four years. The grant met 75% of the child care costs of low-income students attending one of the university-affiliated centers. Grant funding ends August 2003. At this time additional funding for 2004 and beyond is doubtful. Support for this funding has been included as a University federal advocacy priority.
Parents as Scholars
As of this writing, legislation has passed the House and is expected to as well in the Senate to help low-income students access higher education by allowing parents receiving Temporary Assistance for needy Families (TANF) assistance to meet work eligibility requirements by being enrolled in an institution of higher education.
We commend the ASUO, the Program Finance Committee, and the EMU Board for their continuing financial support for student child care through the assistance provided to parents in meeting child care costs with the ASUO Child Care Subsidy Program and their continued commitment to the Co-op Family Center and the Child Care and Development Centers.
RECOMMENDATION: that the University continues its increased efforts to advocate at the state and federal level for increased assistance for student child care needs. The UO should acknowledge the increasing challenges faced by student parents as their resources for child care decline.
c: Staff Tuition Rates for Family
The OUS program allowing staff tuition rates for family members continues to be an important benefit for university faculty and staff. For 2002-03, 324 UO employees had family members who used this benefit (291 for study at the UO and 33 at other OUS institutions). We commend the institution for securing a raise in the allowed credit ceiling from 10 to 12 hours, thus permitting full-time study at staff rates.
RECOMMENDATION: In 2003-04 the staff tuition rates for family benefit will be up for review, and the Legislature has begun discussion of reducing or eliminating this program. We strongly urge the administration to prioritize its advocacy efforts in order to maintain and strengthen this vital benefit.
The thoughtfulness, diligence and commitment of this year’s committee to furthering the interests of children and families at the UO are to be commended. We thank the UO administration for its leadership in valuing the importance of family.