The impact of child care on opportunities for college student-mothers
Gonchar, Nancy Tishman
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An important focus for the social work profession lies in its enabling clients to make optimal use of opportunities available to them. Public education represents a major chance for upward mobility in our society. Public colleges have a tradition of offering education and all that goes with it to students who might not have access to this in the private sector. This access to higher education has led to the creation of a group of nontraditional students whose use of interventions allows them the opportunity to relate to their education in ways similar to their traditional classmates. Supporting these nontraditional students by understanding and defining such interventions within the university system offers social work a unique opportunity to follow its own mandate of "helping the client to help him/herself.".;A large number of college students at Lehman College, the only public senior college in the borough of the Bronx in New York City, have parental responsibilities to attend to along with their academic endeavors. In an attempt to aid this population, an on-site child care center was established in 1985. The center's enrollment was immediately filled and a constantly expanding waiting list developed. This investigation is an attempt to understand the impact of child care arrangements on student-mothers whose children are age eligible to attend the center.;Twenty-five student-mothers whose children were attending the child care center along with twenty-five student-mothers whose children were wait-listed and twenty-five randomly selected student-mothers with age eligible children comprised the study sample. An original questionnaire was administered by telephone to these seventy-five women. In addition, five or more randomly selected volunteers from each group were interviewed, in person, in a less structured manner. The findings indicated that on-site child care center use allows student-mothers to become more fully immersed in their educational process in a manner comparable to traditional students, by offering a highly satisfactory intervention that recognizes their special needs as student-mothers.