Children and Families Commission of OC grant helps provide quality childcare to working families
(Santa Ana)— The Children and Families Commission of Orange County has awarded Rancho Santiago Community College District’s (RSCCD) Child Development Services (CDS) $100,000 to expand its educational childcare program to nontraditional hours. The program, called EdUPlay, allows CDS to provide affordable, quality childcare to working families during the evenings, weekends and during winter, spring and summer breaks.
“Working families are often desperate to find childcare that is educational and competitively priced and available during nontraditional hours, but are restricted to choices such as unlicensed homecare or babysitting,” said Dee Tucker, RSCCD CDS’s executive director. “We have been able to fill this need somewhat through extended hours during the workweek, but now have a real opportunity to expand our program and make a difference.”
According to the U.S. Census, approximately 18 percent of the county’s employed work nontraditional hours and only two percent of existing licensed childcare facilities address this need. At present, there is only one facility that offers extended care through the evening. Scheduled to start in the summer, EdUPlay will add to this number, providing a high quality, rich educational environment to children between the ages of six months to five years at Santiago Canyon College and Santa Ana College.
The grant is part of the Commission’s Capacity Building Grant Cycle, aimed at one-time funding to expand projects and services for children from zero to five years that meet documented community needs.
Although the grant is only for an 18-month period, Tucker said she expects the program to be self-sustaining within a year’s time. This self-sustenance is critical to the CDS, which has had to find ways to keep the centers thriving after being affected by state and federal funding cuts.
“Our mission is to provide vital, comprehensive and quality educational programs and services that address the needs of our multi-faceted community,” Tucker said. “To do this, we’ve had to find creative ways to accelerate our plan to diversify our sources of funding in order to become more resilient to state funding shortages.”
For more information about the programs and services of CDS, including EdUPlay, contact (714) 480-7546 or visit www.occhildcarecenter.org.
About Child Development Services
Rancho Santiago Community College District Child Development Services has offered state-subsidized childcare since 1970, operating five childcare centers in Santa Ana and Orange that serve approximately 900 children. All the centers are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, are staffed by credentialed teachers and provide meals, formula and diapers to children enrolled. All centers serve low-income families, but have recently expanded to provide services to those who can pay the full cost of care.
About the Rancho Santiago Community College District
The mission of the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) is to respond to the educational needs of an ever-changing community and to provide programs and services that reflect academic excellence. Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of RSCCD, which serve the residents of Anaheim Hills, East Garden Grove, Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin and Villa Park. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, customized training for business and industry, and programs to train nurses, firefighters and law enforcement personnel.
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