VCU Child Development Center receives $1.26M grant to provide child care for low-income VCU students

The grant from the U.S. Department of Education will also lead to the establishment of an Urban Education and Family Center.

A person reads a book to a group of children.
In this undated photo, a volunteer at VCU's Child Development Center reads to children. The center has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to provide child care services for the children of low-income undergraduate students at VCU. (File photo, School of Education)

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the Child Development Center at Virginia Commonwealth University a four-year $1.26 million grant to provide child care services for the children of low-income undergraduate students at VCU.

The grant was awarded through the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program, which supports the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education through campus-based child care services.

Part of the VCU School of Education, the Child Development Center offers full-day care and developmentally-appropriate education for the families of VCU faculty, staff and students, as well as the community.

“The [Child Development Center] staff was very excited to get the news,” said Thomas H. Beatty, Ed.D., director of the center. “They are a top-notch group of teachers and they know that this funding will allow them to increase their capacity to provide support to even more children.”

The funding will provide tuition support for up to 25 children. It is available for the children of VCU undergraduate students who are receiving Pell Grants. The funding is available now and more information can be found on the School of Education’s website.

“Absent the grant, many undergraduate students would not have been able to afford the monthly tuition,” Beatty said. “Further, the grant will also help increase the retention rate of many undergraduate students and support their persistence to graduation. Finding affordable quality child care is often a barrier for many undergraduate students so the funding this grant provides will remove that barrier.”

The award will also enable the Child Development Center to establish an Urban Education and Family Center, which will serve as a hub for interventions and research addressing three key areas for individual and family mobility: educational attainment, economic mobility and individual well-being.

The center, which is the brainchild of School of Education Dean Andrew Daire, Ph.D., will address individual and contextual stressors that are exacerbated by poverty. It will provide services to families in Richmond’s Gilpin Court and Carver communities.

“These services include workforce development, as well as individual and family counseling,” Beatty said. “While the tuition support will be for up to 25 children of VCU undergraduate students who receive Pell Grants, the services that will be provided through the Urban Education and Family Center will be far-reaching.”

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