Child care options increasing for faculty and staff

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    Faculty and staff members will soon have access to more child care options because of a partnership between the university and a third party facilitator. The university is working with Camp Fire USA in an effort to connect faculty members with affordable, more accessible child care options.

    Suzy Lockwood, assistant professor in the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said Camp Fire USA will act as a facilitator between university employees and quality child care providers in the area. The company works with existing childcare programs at different facilities and in private homes by overseeing and providing referrals for those programs, Lockwood said.

    Pat Jolley, director of compensation for Human Resources, said the university’s pilot program will evolve during a three-year period. It is unknown at this time if the same child care options will be available to students in the future.

    “We’re going to start with our regular staff and see how far we can grow this program,” Jolley said.

    Both Jolley and Lockwood are members of an ad-hoc committee that assessed the need for childcare for faculty and staff members.
    Jolley said there is no definitive date set for the launch of the program, but the goal is later this spring.

    University representatives are scheduled to meet with Camp Fire USA officials later this month to discuss the results of a recent survey sent out to faculty and staff, Jolley said. The survey was an assessment of the overall child care needs of the faculty.

    According to a 2009 Skiff article, the Graduate Student Senate was considering providing childcare to students, but there were too many undetermined variables at play that prevented the group from taking action. Jolley said there is a possibility that graduate students would be included in the program later. Feedback after the program launches will determine whether or not the program could meet the needs of graduate students, she said.

    In addition to daytime care, the program will provide sick care for children who are sick and cannot attend school, as well as after-school care and summer camps for faculty members’ children, Jolley said.

    A price range for child care would be contingent on the services requested, she said.

    Camp Fire USA will have a specific representative for the university who will do site visits to make sure the selected facilities are meeting quality standards, providing educational programs and meeting state requirements, Lockwood said. The group will also provide additional training and education for the child care providers, she said. The program is designed to further develop child care programs already in place by providing faculty and staff with more access to those programs.

    MBA graduate student Ben Wyatt said that he is a proponent of the program and that he hopes it will eventually be an option for graduate students. The fact that the program will include sick care is an added bonus, Wyatt said.

    “My wife and I don’t have family here, so something like that would be a huge benefit for us,” Wyatt said.

    Edward Carr, Graduate Student Senate secretary, said the senate is still considering other options for child care in the meantime and will discuss those options in a meeting next week.