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 Tuesday, May 22, 2007 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Childcare Task Force submits recommendations
by Dana Silva, sophomore, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Childcare is an issue affecting the lives of CU faculty and students alike. In response to existing concerns, the university formed the 2007 Childcare Task Force (CCTF) that completed its work earlier this month.

Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson's charge to the task force focused on community resources, costs and quality for childcare.

"Our objective was to address the demands of childcare and to give recommendations while bringing forth other thoughts," said Derrick Watson, assistant to the vice chancellor for administration and chair of CCTF.

As part of their work, the task force examined existing childcare resources available in Boulder.

"We looked at the kinds of services, resources and options there were with special sensitivity to price for places both on and off campus," Watson said.

Melanie Carnahan, a student parent, opts to use off campus childcare due to expenses.

"It is difficult to find inexpensive childcare," Carnahan said in an email response. "I would like to see my children doing something exciting like going to camps and having soccer games, or what ever sports they would be interested in. We just can't afford it."

Because of these issues, CCTF researched the campus community's needs through a 2001 childcare survey and 2007 focus groups. The participants were comprised of CU faculty, staff and students.

"We learned that issues haven't changed since the 2001 survey," Watson said. "In this country, women are entering the workplace and are having a hard time finding a balance between family and work life."

CCTF developed a list of childcare recommendations in the categories of service delivery, funding, support systems and employee training. The recommendations include improving accessibility to childcare information, expanding childcare hours to assist more children, providing financial resources and establishing a system so students can have a strong academic life while balancing a family.

"CCTF accomplished a lot in a short amount of time," said Anita Head, the director of the Family Housing Children's Center and an active participant in CCTF. "We're hopeful that the recommendations will be implemented in the future."

Chancellor Peterson plans to visit the CU Children's Center and have follow-up meetings with CCTF to ensure the university is taking action on the demands for quality childcare.

"A child is the best gift a person can receive in life. It's important that we don't sacrifice the quality of childcare," Watson said.

For more information, contact Derrick Watson.


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