Austin Community College Expands Care to Younger Kids
ACC / YMCA partnership now accepting 12-month-olds and up to its drop-in center
Austin Community College will expand its Child Watch drop-in center at the Highland campus by lowering the age requirement for children attending the center and making the program more affordable to larger families. On Monday, March 25, the drop-in center, which is operated as a partnership between ACC and YMCA of Austin, will begin accepting children as young as 12 months old; when the program launched in December, the minimum age was 3 years. YMCA District Executive Director Tiffany Patterson said staff members have been given additional training in caring for younger children, and the center now has changing stations for children in diapers.
They will also introduce a discount program for students with more than one child in the center: 50% off the standard $4/hour rate for each additional child. They'll also let parents send snacks with their children, but nuts will not be allowed into the room to protect children who may have allergies.
Children can stay at the center for up to three hours per day, or a maximum of 12 hours per week. In its first few weeks of operation, the center has helped 15 families and 21 children, according to Patterson. "We knew it would be slow because most parents have figured out care, or [their children] are school-aged," Patterson said. "One of the reasons we lowered the age is to make the program more accessible."