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Star ratings: Convenient child care needed

By Margaret Damghani
Opinion Editor

The recent study that determined that a child care center on campus is not feasible hinged on the fact that the majority of students and faculty do not appear to need childcare.

It’s an economic issue
Although many respondents did have children, 43 percent use family to help with child care needs and one-third pay quite a bit less than most child care centers charge.
With about one-third of the respondents making less than $20,000 a year, would they be willing or able to change child care arrangements for more convenience?
Telephone interviews from the study reflect that almost everyone agreed that child care is an important issue, although to different degrees.

Some passionate pleas
“We really need child care here,” a faculty member said. “It affects the students in my department. There are many students who need child care desperately. Many students try to bring their kids to class. The faculty also brings their kids to school. We need support.”

Tempering responses
“It’s a very good idea to put a center in. I’m the mother of five, but I don’t need it myself,” she said.
Three individuals echoed this sentiment, quoted from a phone interview, “I would be happy with an on campus center so I can breastfeed my newborn. It would simplify my life.”
However, the study’s conclusions do make sense and six child care centers have recently closed in Pembroke because of lack of enrollment, according to the Robeson County Day Care Association.
The ideal of an on-campus center, with flexible hours for commuting parents who wish their children to be closer to them, may not be as far away as the majority of those interviewed seem to think.
UNCP is planning to work with local centers to achieve the same goals that one on campus would serve.
Local child care centers were interviewed in the study. Some owners said they were turning people away. Others said they were struggling to stay open, and others said they would have no problem being flexible for parents and allowing drop-in service.

Finding information
By searching the UNCP website, a student can find information on grants for single parents and agencies that help with child care issues.
A list of child care centers in Pembroke and nearby areas with contact information is being developed to be posted on UNCP’s website and available from the Office of Student Affairs, according to Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
The university would do a great service by providing students, staff and faculty with a list of daycare centers in and around Pembroke.
It would also be nice to know what “star rating” the state has given the center, whether or not the. centers allow for the “drop-in” type of care which many students seek and how much they charge.







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Updated: Monday, October 15, 2007
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