Middlebury College Child Care Arrangement Formalized
President Sees College Plan as a Model for Others to Help Improve Child Care Availability
MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Middlebury College today, in conjunction with local child care providers, the Vermont Community Foundation, and the Addison County United Way, formally announced a plan to address the chronic shortage of child care in Addison County. The plan establishes a new facility in Middlebury at 228 College Street in a house currently owned by the College. The house, which will be renovated as a center for infant and toddler care, is expected to begin operation on September 1, 2000. The new center will provide care for 16 additional children. The plan will also add nine infant and toddler slots through the creation of three additional home-based child care facilities.
A financial contribution by the College to the Vermont Community Foundation and the Addison County United Way will be used to help support the operation of the new facility and the additional home-based providers, according to the plan's organizers. The College contribution also includes the cost of renovating the College Street house in which the new center will be located.
According to John M. McCardell, Jr., president of Middlebury College, the purpose of the College's gift is broadly conceived. "The College funding we are supplying is a gift to providers of child care to use generally to support child care in this county," said McCardell. "The new center is one form of care that will be underwritten," he said, "but this is not a direct subsidy by the College to be dedicated solely to the creation of a new center.
" In the first year of the program, the College's contribution, including renovation of the College-owned house, will exceed $600,000. In four subsequent years, additional gifts, totaling more than $200,000 annually, will be made by the College in support of this program.
According to McCardell, the College is fully committed to the continuation of this program well --more-- Middlebury College Child Care Initiative/Page 2 May 25, 2000 beyond the five-year period for which funding is specified.
The Bristol Family Center will function as administrative agent for the new center, working in conjunction with a consortium of existing county child care providers that includes the Otter Creek Child Center and the Mary Johnson Children's Center. The Mary Johnson Children's Center will administer the home-based program. An advisory board for the center and the home-based programs will also be appointed.
Of the 25 additional infant and toddler slots, 16 will be reserved for Middlebury College employees. The remaining nine new slots will be available to area residents.
According to Pam Smith, resource development specialist for Addison County Child Care Services, the per-child cost to clients for participation in this program will be up to $200 per week, depending on financial need. "The true cost of providing care for infants and toddlers in the Addison County area is about $335 per week. The gap between the true cost of care and what we charge comes from gifts, grants, and other funding that is used to underwrite our programs," Smith said. She added that a sliding scale based on ability to pay will help to offset the expense for clients with financial need. Minimum cost will be $106 per child, per week, and the state's child care subsidy will be accepted as payment for those who qualify, according to Smith.
Smith said home-based child care providers connected with the program will be required to seek national accreditation. "All home-based providers will receive assistance through the program to obtain the equipment they need to operate," said Smith. "There will also be substitute caregivers available for the home-based providers, and all providers will receive training in support of their efforts to become accredited," she said. Home providers will receive weekly visits from a home care coordinator, according to Smith.
McCardell sees the College's initiative as a partial solution to the shortage
of child care that will benefit both College employees and others in the area.
"At the same time, it neither favors a particular form or venue of child care,
nor does it place a College center in competition with the excellent care already
offered by local providers." McCardell said the program will increase the number
of child care slots for both College employees and the community, while also
serving as a model of employer-foundation-provider cooperation. McCardell hopes
that the College can persuade other local employers to join in similar arrangements.