FAMU student-parents seek alternatives for infant care

Florida A&M student student parents may have a tough time finding child care for their infants.

The university has a child care facility, New Beginnings Child Development Center, but it does not facilitate infants before the age of 2 and a half.

According to the university’s website: “Children between the ages of 2 and a half (toilet trained) and 5 may be admitted to the regular preschool program. Children between the ages of 5 and 12 may be admitted for after-school care.”

Cassidy Bryant, a junior sociology student from Orlando, is expecting her first child but wants to continue her studies at FAMU.

“It’s a little scary knowing that FAMU doesn’t offer any services to infants,” Bryant said. “I really would like to keep my child up here with me while still in school, but as of now, I’m not sure if it is possible.”

Student mothers who are not familiar with Tallahassee have to seek out other programs since the university does not provide service to infants.

Multiple attempts were made to contact the director of the New Beginnings Child Development Center, but none were returned.

Porsha Billings, a senior pharmacy student from Macon, Ga., who has a 3-year-old daughter, decided to keep her in Tallahassee while still in school.

“I asked around for help in order to get a cheaper price for day care, and that is when I found out about the Early Learning Coalition,” Billings said. “I receive a voucher, and it basically covers all of my expenses, but it depends on the day care you choose.”

Billings said the Early Learning Coalition, which is private not-for-profit organization that provides assistance to low-income families, offers vouchers to help families place their children in day care.

She suggested that people apply early.

“I was advised to apply for child care when I was six months pregnant,” Billings said. “There is a waiting list, and believe it or not, I was able to enroll my daughter when she was almost 1 year old.”

Daisy Washington, a teacher at local day care Miracle Years, said she is familiar with the struggle many student parents face trying to find care for their children.

“We have many students from FAMU who bring their children here,” Washington said. “I don’t really understand their policy, but I do feel that more help should be offered to student parents.”