The Helen Gordon Child Development Center was awarded a $240,000 four-year Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPUS) grant by the U.S. Department of Education.
The grant will allow the center to offer more such as: service to a larger age group, scholarships for parents, another staff member, new classroom equipment and developmental training.
This grant will extend enrollment age down to 18 months old, compared to the current 24-month-old age requirement now in place. According to Ellie Justice and Will Parnett, co-authors and project directors for the grant, it will allow financial freedom to hire one more teacher, obtain new classroom equipment, offer scholarships and make room for 12 more children.
Although the Associated Students of Portland State University Children’s Center (ASPSU) does offer care for children as young as 12 months, it is only a part-time child care center. The age requirement has been a top concern and unmet need of PSU parents, according to Justice.
The Helen Gordon center offers service, five days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and is currently in the process of hiring the new staff member to accommodate the new age group. Also, since there are over 300 families on the waiting list, they will start phasing new children in, as space becomes available.
The center, nationally accredited by the National Academy of Childhood Programs, will now also be able to award scholarships to qualifying families. The scholarships will be subsidized, and up to 1,000 dollars. These scholarships will be available to eight student families, according to Justice and Parnell. These subsidized scholarships will be made available to qualifying families next month. Additionally, families who qualify will receive additional subsidies to encourage and motivate parent enrollment into the university.
The center will now send their teachers to conventions and meetings for training opportunities.
The center, named in honor of the late Helen Gordon for her strong advocacy for an early childhood community and bringing child care to PSU, began in 1971. The student to teacher ratio is three to one, while the state requirement is 10 to one. The building, located on the corner of Southwest 12th Street and Market, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.