Since receiving University, Medical Center funding, area facilities have improved infant, toddler childcareSabrina L. Miller
University administrators, City of Chicago officials and community leaders all gathered at the Centers for New Horizons Effie Ellis Center on Thursday, March 8, for a reception to celebrate the success of the childcare initiative of the University and Medical Center upon its one-year anniversary.
Three South Side childcare facilities were awarded grants this past summer to help support their childcare programs, and representatives of those providers joined Hank Webber, Vice President for Community & Government Affairs at the University, Toni Preckwinkle, 4th Ward Ald., and Shirley Newsome, chair of the North Kenwood Oakland Conservation Community Council, at the reception.
The officials and other guests toured the Centers for New Horizons Effie Ellis Center at 4301 S. Cottage Grove Ave., which serves children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old.
Webber praised the childcare providers—Baby Ph.D, Chicago Child Care Society and Centers for New Horizons—for successfully utilizing more than $400,000 in grant money, which the University and Medical Center provided as part of a first-time plan to increase childcare options for employees, faculty and staff. Webber also thanked Preckwinkle, Newsome and the Illinois Facilities Fund for their approval and support of the initiative.
“Three years ago, we realized that we needed to do far more to address the infant and toddler care needs of our employee families,” Webber said to reception attendees. “Rather than build a facility on campus, we decided to invest in the existing infrastructure, and support the strong providers in our community. This allowed for both employee families and community residents to benefit from the added investment.”
A 2002 survey of University and Medical Center employees determined that most were satisfied with childcare options for their 3-to-5-year-olds, but that options for infants and young toddlers were limited. Webber tapped Ingrid Gould, Assistant Vice-President and Associate Provost, and Michelle Olson, Director of Community and Government Affairs, to develop the initiative.
Webber said 46 new slots among the three facilities were created during the first year. While praising the pilot program for its first successful year, Webber said he looked forward to its expansion to serve more employees.
“Let’s figure out what we can do together to continue to keep the program moving forward to serve more employees and create real assets for the community,” Webber said.
For more information on the program, please visit the grantee organizations or see the brochure at http://hr.uchicago.edu/benefits/spds/childcare/childcare_flyer.pdf.