Current students, faculty and staff, alumni and members of the San Diego State community with children from six months to pre-kindergarten, who are in need of childcare, are welcome to enroll in the SDSU Children’s Center. However, the wait in order to be part of the non-profit program might increase to 3 years, according to the Children Center’s Director Robin Judd.
“We don’t like the term ‘waiting list’ because a list implies numbers,” Judd said of the manner in which families are selected for the program. “We refer to is as a waiting pool where they’re floating until an opening occurs—everyone is considered but we’re looking for factors.”
Priority is always given to students, according to Judd. The lower their income the higher priority they have as well.
Some students are fully funded for their childcare services while others pay a full fee or a partial fee, which ranges from $1 to $15.50 per day.
Those who do not receive any funding pay $67 dollars per day for infant care (6 months), which often accumulates to $1,300 per semester. 80 to 85 percent of students receive the funding, according to Judd. Prices differ from that of toddler (18-24 months) and pre-K (2-5 years) childcare. Infant care is the most expensive.
The center was recently affected by a budget deduction made by the California Department of Education in state funding, one that would have been even larger had childcare supporters not fought against it, Judd said.
With a smaller budget, the center is able to fund as many students. Those eligible for funding become less because the required income ceiling drops, meaning fewer students are eligible because their income is no longer low enough.
Because of the money shortage, the requisites are now harder to meet, but if they are met students will find a pool of other students waiting just like them.
“[The Children’s Center] is an environment which would benefit her,” journalism junior Endi Sevilla said regarding her daughter who has been in the waiting pool for more than a year. “It’s right at school so I wouldn’t have to drive anywhere else to leave her.”
The program receives most of its funds from paying families, arriving at a total of $2.1 million last academic year. An amount of $280,000 was received as state funding and $10,000 came from partial payers. SDSU’s Associated Students aid the center byproviding free Human Resources, accounting and pay roll services.
According to Judd, numerous childcare centers in California have closed throughout the year.
“Some people don’t believe in these types of centers.” Judd said. “They say parents should be taking care of their children. It would be great if all parents could but some- times families don’t have a choice — and if they don’t, we’ll give their children a quality environment.”
The center employs 17 certified teachers and almost 100 part-time students, Judd said.
Each classroom has 16 children, with a ratio of one teacher or assistant teacher per child, according to SDSU child development junior and assistant teacher at the toddler’s department at the Children’s Center Elizabeth Sanchez.
“We try to fulfill their needs, change them, feed them and try to make the environment safe.” Sanchez said. “We don’t actually teach. We go with the flow and if they are playing with something we tell them what it is. We let them explore.”
According to Judd, the process of selection every year looks closely at classroom space availability. Returning children are chosen first.
The classroom for infants has 18 unfilled seats available each year. The ones for toddlers and pre-K are already partly selected since the year’s start because of the returning children who have progressed. Less than 46 availabilities overall open at the center each year, Judd added.