CFC to reopen in early 2025, leaving faculty without on-campus childcare amid renovations

Beach Building Services announced the Child and Family Center (CFC) program will resume childcare services in January 2025 following renovations during the 2023-2024 academic school year.

The renovation project titled “Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Child Care Project” aims to “yield a significant increase in the quantity and range of childcare services available for children of students attending college,” according to a Beach Building Services update.

With the total cost estimated to be $12 million, the program received a one-time state grant in 2020 to renovate and expand the CFC’s services and facilities.

However, the facility’s closure at the end of June caused concern and frustration among faculty and staff who have relied on the program’s services for years. Several faculty stated that the CFC provided an on-campus convenience that other centers simply do not.

Dr. Lori Baralt, associate professor and department chair of the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Department, expressed the struggles of finding an alternative childcare center.

“[It’s] very time-consuming, trying to find places that have openings that you would feel are safe for your children and would be a quality childcare place. Also, in terms of where they are located, having childcare on campus was so convenient.”

Baralt said that her youngest son will face two significant social transitions following the closure of the CFC as he was enrolled in a new daycare center for the summer and will start transitional kindergarten later this month.

“For many of them, that was their first experience in childcare. My second child took a lot longer to warm up because he’d never been outside of our family unit because of COVID. It was such a big adjustment for him to get used to being there and to love his friends and his teachers,” Baralt said.

Faculty were frustrated, stating that there was “poor planning and mismanagement” surrounding the temporary relocation of the program.

Dr. Banafsheh Behzad, associate professor of Information Systems at the College of Business, said, “They told us that the center was going to be open, that they’re just going to move to another location.”

Ultimately, that did not occur. Relocation efforts were made by program administrators to continue childcare operations but were hindered due to strict licensing requirements. The program would have to acquire new licenses, but it could not be obtained in time for the closure and construction timeline.

Provost Karyn Scissum-Gunn shared additional information about the CFC’s closure and the issues with the relocation in an update on the CSULB website.

“In explorations with licensing agencies, it became clear in Fall 2022 that a relocation of the CFC to The Pointe for more than a year would be treated as a new childcare facility requiring a new license,” Scissum-Gunn said. “The temporary suspension of CFC childcare services is disappointing and difficult. This is not where any of us wanted to land.”

Another issue was that the program’s preschool teachers, who are also lecturers at the university, lost both of their jobs after the closure of the CFC.

“We’re still really concerned about how the [preschool] teachers were treated in all of this,” Baralt said. “A lot of the lead teachers were also lecturers in the department and they all lost their jobs. Not just their teaching jobs, but also their contracts to be lecturers for fall.”

These events caused further frustration among faculty and staff as they viewed the employment changes as an image rebranding technique for the reopening of the new center.

“It kind of looks like the department and the college wanted to get rid of all those teachers and start this new center when it’s ready and running with new staff and new parents,” Behzad said. “For us, no matter how fancy and new the building is, I think that it has lost its heart and soul because really it was the teachers that were doing everything.”

Located in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, the Center previously provided three childcare rooms and two play yards for the 45 children enrolled in the program.

Upon completion, the new changes will include three additional childcare rooms, children’s restrooms, a staff room, a kitchen and a separate laundry room. Other features include innovative reading nooks, enhanced natural light and renovation of the existing classrooms.

“The improvements will provide increased capacity to the overall program as well as provide equity amongst the existing and new spaces,” Gregory Woods, Director of News Media Services, said. “With these changes, the Center will double the enrollment and serve more families on campus and the surrounding community, welcoming student-parent families for the first time.”

Considering the program did not previously enroll children of student-parents, many faculty members have become increasingly uncertain that they will successfully secure a spot for their children despite the expansion.

“I’m very happy that they are expanding childcare to students because student-parents obviously need childcare too,” Baralt said. “But I am concerned because even before COVID, there weren’t enough spots for faculty children.”

The contractors mobilized the site at the beginning of August 2023 and are now in the beginning stages of construction including installing temporary fencing and performing site surveys around the center.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in early November 2024 before the program reopens in the following months.

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