NIU’s on-campus Child Development and Family Center (CDFC) truly is a win-win for everyone involved. Faculty and students who are also parents have convenient, award-winning child care, and students in the Human Development and Family Sciences program have the opportunity for experiential learning and in-class observation.

Recognizing the center’s importance, both the Illinois State Board of Education and the U.S. Department of Education have awarded NIU more than $2 million to expand services over the next four years.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) awarded the CDFC $1.6 million to increase full-day preschool services. The funds are part of the Preschool for All Expansion (PFA-E) program that increases access to full-day early childhood education and comprehensive services to eligible 4 year olds. The grant provides funding for 40 preschoolers.

The CDFC also received $1 million for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Paid over a four-year period, the CCAMPIS program is intended to support NIU student-parents who need child care assistance in order to remain in school and graduate with a college degree. The program provides support for up to 100 percent of the cost of child care for students with young children.

“This program is going to allow some people to stay in school, some people to start school and some people to complete the degree that they otherwise would not be able to complete,” NIU’s Family and Consumer Sciences Department Chair Thomas Pavkov said.

Along with access to affordable, high-quality child care, participants receive additional support through the CDFC coordinator, Dahlia Roman, ‘99.

“Because of our facility, parents might not have to work four jobs. They may be able to process stressors and work on identifying personal goals that will enable them to be successful,” Roman said.The CDFC serves as a child care lab for NIU students studying early childhood development and family sciences. Students observe at the center, and some work as paid part-time staff.

“We have organizations that actively recruit our graduates because of the training they receive here,” Pavkov said.