By Daniel Montaño, Staff Reporter
College is hard enough with the pressures of essays, finals, pop quizzes and Blackboard outages; students should not have to deal with the added pressure of trying to find affordable child care, Torrey Moorman, Nursing, Nutrition and Health Information Technology major, said.
That is exactly what Moorman said she is looking to change.
In the hopes of improving graduation rates and student morale, Moorman, Khoa Pham, business major, and Karissa Trebizo, Engineering major, are submitting a proposal to CNM president Katharine Winograd that is aimed at establishing an on-site daycare at Main Campus that will provide free or low-cost childcare to students in need, Moorman said.
“I have worked with pregnant women as a doula (birthing assistant) for over 20 years now, and I’ve learned that women have a real hard time going to school or having a job if they do not have adequate childcare. If they don’t know that their children are safe then they can’t function properly at work and they can’t function properly at school,” Moorman said.
The daycare, if approved, would be staffed by students enrolled in the child development, early child education, social work and similar programs which require students to partake in internships, she said.
“All of those students have to do internships and at this point in time they have to go off campus to fulfill those internships. There’s no reason that they can’t do their internships here on campus and that would fulfill our faculty need for the daycare,” Moorman said.
The proposal is in the final stages of development before Moorman submits it to administration, but needs more data from students before being finalized, Moorman said.
CNM students interested in helping to get the project off of the ground can go to facebook.com/groups/139377162935626/ files/to fill out a brief survey to get Moorman the information she needs before submitting the proposal to President Winograd.
Most of the framework for the project is already in place or would require relatively small funding to establish because the plans make use of available resources, Moorman said.
“We talked to housekeeping and there are never fewer than three empty classrooms on campus each term. In order to run a full-scale childcare facility all we need is three empty classrooms, one for each of the age groups, and if we had five we could conceivably serve the majority of the students who have a need,” she said
The proposed daycare would be focused on filling the needs of students whose income falls between 100 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level, she said.
The Children Youth and Families Department of New Mexico previously provided childcare vouchers for residents of New Mexico who fell within the 100 to 200 percentage income level, as mandated by the federal government, but indefinitely froze funding for the program in the fall of 2012, she said.
“So that leaves a huge chunk of our student base who are just above the poverty line—maybe by only $10 or $11 a month— and now can’t receive assistance but don’t make enough money to pay for childcare out of their pocket. So with CNM decreasing student loan amounts, how are students supposed to finish school if they have to stay at home with their kids?” Moorman said.
Insurance costs are the major reason administration has not yet set up an onsite daycare, and is the only major obstacle in her proposal, which would rely on stat funding to cover insurance costs. Moorman said.
“Getting funding for the insurance costs seems to be the biggest issue and the reality is our society is way more focused on money than it is on what’s healthiest for children and people. If your bottom line is a dollar then children are an inconvenience,” she said.
While CNM does have an agreement with the Tres Manos Development Center, located right behind Main Campus at 823 Buena Vista Drive SE, the child care facility only accepts kids between the ages of three to five and has a cap of 38 children, which has led to a waitlist for parents in need, Moorman said.
“The slots fill up so quickly and the waitlist is so long that people in need now are still left in the same situation. Also, people who have had their vouchers frozen for being over one-hundred percent of the federal poverty level still can’t afford it, even with the discount given to CNM students,” she said.
The proposal originally started as a project for Ying Xu’s English 2219 course, wherein Moorman, Trebizo and Pham were assigned to write a proposal to fix an issue at CNM, Moorman said.
The project soon developed into a personal matter for Moorman, who is a single mother, she said.
“We’re taking this a step further than just an assignment. We already aced the paper and now we’re waiting to get the rest of the data, which we weren’t able to get in time to submit with the paper, so that we can finalize the proposal. Then we are submitting it to Winograd the CYFD (Children Youth and Families Department), and we want to submit it to Governor Martinez to explain why this needs to be in place,” Moorman said.
To help the assignment group get the data they need to finalize the proposal, go to facebook.com/ groups/139377162935626/files/ to download and fill out a brief survey, which afterwards can be private messaged to the group’s Facebook page.
For more information on Tres Manos Development Center visit Financial Aid and Scholarship Services on main campus, or call their district office at 841-4825.