SIUE offers child care amid cuts across Illinois colleges

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Child care for the children of students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has so far survived budget cuts despite other schools across the state having stopped the service.

Discounts are often available for college students who use campus-run child care. But some institutions that cut child care from their budgets said families can’t cover the costs to operate the service because of enrollment declines, the Belleville News-Democrat reported .

SIUE’s child care services are still around because of support from the administration, said Becky Dabbs-MacLean, director of the university’s Early Childhood Center.

“When student parents cross the stage, it not only changes their life, it changes their children’s lives,” she said. “I think they understand that, you know? And honestly, we tell them all the time. I think over the years, they have come to really value that.”

The center helps parents find financial assistance to pay for child care through state subsidies and scholarships funded by university graduates and community members, according to Dabbs-MacLean.

Schools such as Southwestern Illinois College have decided to stop offering child care on its Belleville campus, citing a severe decline in enrollment. The college was promised a $6.1 million grant from the state four years ago to put toward child care service by building an early childhood education center on campus. But college spokesman Jim Haverstick said the school never received the money.

The Illinois Community College Board knows that some community colleges have closed their child care facilities but the board hasn’t conducted a survey, according to spokesman Matt Berry.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education says it doesn’t monitor which schools offer child care services.