Childcare in the United States is inaccessible and unaffordable for many working families. At the same time, childcare workers—overwhelmingly women and disproportionately women of color—are severely underpaid. With too little funding available, childcare providers struggle to maintain staffing levels necessary to keep classrooms open, resulting in growing waitlists and dwindling supply that limits families’ choices for care.
Rutgers University is not untouched by these challenges. Many Rutgers faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students find campus care inaccessible and unaffordable. The Rutgers Psychology Child Development Centers are 2 on-campus, licensed childcare programs operated by the Psychology Department and have been supporting research and academics, as well as providing early care and education for young children since its creation as the “School for Child Study” at Douglass College (then known as The New Jersey College for Women) by Mabel Smith Douglass in 1930! While our program enrollment has grown from the original 12 children, we still cannot meet the demand for quality, on-campus childcare and continue to maintain waiting lists of over 100 children. Since many area school districts have utilized federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to create and expand PreK classrooms in the public schools, our programs have lost nearly 50% of their staff members to those districts where salaries are significantly higher even though those positions are 10-month academic year appointments.
The Rutgers Psychology Child Development Centers are self-funded and all operational costs are supported by the tuition collected for the enrolled children and through childcare grants when they are available. Additional financial support is needed to support the program’s infrastructure to ensure the continued success, growth, and expansion, as well as to make campus childcare accessible and affordable for the Rutgers community.
Consider supporting Rutgers Psychology Child Development Center to invest in childcare infrastructure to reduce costs for Rutgers faculty, staff, and college student families, support Rutgers research and academics in early childhood learning and development, bolster the childcare workforce, and address racial and gender disparities in the childcare system.