Need for child care creates challenges

Students who are parents experience financial, emotional stress

By Season Craven

Student Reporter

One of the greatest challenges facing Amarillo College students who are also parents is finding affordable child care for their children. Multiple resources are answering that challenge by providing much needed assistance.

Denese Skinner, vice president of student affairs, said, “In the spring of 2021, AC conducted a study of student parents to find out about their needs and how we can better support our student parents,” Skinner said. 

In that study, 76% of student parents said they experience quite a bit of stress to a huge amount of stress, with child care being one of the top three reasons, along with finances and finding balance. 

Carrie Hughes, an education major, works two days a week and home schools her two school-age children. “I returned to school two years ago to work on my teacher certification. The most stressful part is just getting the house quiet enough. However, I have learned to prioritize and schedule so that I am able to take care of my schooling and everything else,” Hughes said.

Often, students have to call on family to help with child care while they attend college. Corie Rincon, an education major, said, “I have four girls, the youngest being three weeks old. My source of stress in being a student and a parent is trying to make time to do my homework and still be there for my girls. Being a full time mom, working full time and going to school is really hard for me, but I find ways to make it work. My three older girls are in school and my baby will start staying with my grandma when I return to work.”

Federal financial aid records reveal that 23% of the AC student-body are parents, and 59% of those are also single, making child care even more crucial. Skinner said the study also found that parents need child care that is not only affordable, but also available after-school and in the evenings. 

There are options available to help take the strain off parents. There are currently two AC day care facilities, the Child Development Lab School and the Hagy Center for Young Children. According to the AC child care website, “It is a simple process to be put on the waiting list and requires the centers to obtain general information such as a child’s date of birth and contact information of the parent.” Grants are available and will be administered by Dennis Sarine, director of teacher preparation and early childhood education, who can be reached at 806-371-5188.

Illustration by RAYGAN LOPEZ | The Ranger

Skinner said there are other resources available also. “AC’s Advocacy and Resource Center can help students identify day care centers in the Amarillo area.  AC’s Advocacy and Resource Center’s Adult Students Program has resources to assist in funding a portion of a student’s day  care expenses,” Skinner said. Jordan Herrera, director of social services in the ARC, can provide students with more information about the program. She can be reached at (806) 371-5439.

There is also a club at AC for student parents. According to AC, “S.W.A.P, or students who are parents, is a collaborative organization who aspires to provide support and resources to current Amarillo College students who are parents or guardians of children.” For more information, contact Renee Stovall 806-371-5099

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