A $242,700 federal grant recently awarded to Central Oregon Community College will provide funding over four years to alleviate child care costs for low-income students. The funds will also help launch the Bend-based Little Kits Early Learning & Child Care Center at Oregon State University-Cascades, a year-round program with an integrated teacher-training component.
"Child care has been a need in Central Oregon for quite some time, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated the demand for high-quality, supportive, nurturing spaces for children," said Amy Howell, director of COCC's early childhood education program and a principal in securing the federal grant. "When our students know that their children are in safe, supportive, nurturing spaces, they are able to focus on their other commitments, including their academic and professional goals."
The grant arrangement will support the development of the Little Kits Early Learning & Child Care Center, envisioned as a child care option for families of both COCC and OSU-Cascades students and employees, opening new space in a region facing a scarcity of child care facilities.