For over 30 years, the Child and Family Center (CFC) has served as an experiential-learning site and laboratory school for Child Development students at the university. The CFC is a NAEYC-accredited program (National Association for the Education of Young Children) that provides care to 45 children on a daily basis. Just over half of the children served are those of university employees, with the other half being children of local community members. A separate campus facility operated by Associated Students offers child care services to student-parents.
The 2019-20 state budget provided one-time funding to the CFC to renovate and expand its facilities to nearly double the current capacity. With this expansion, the CFC will be offering child care for the first time to student-parents. Upon completion of the project, new features will include three new classrooms, innovative reading nooks, enhanced natural light, renovation of existing classrooms, and an additional, newly designed Regio Emilia-inspired playground among existing pine trees.
On February 16, Provost Karyn Scissum-Gunn shared a message with the university faculty and staff with additional information about the project. An excerpt:
On behalf of our campus leadership, I write today to provide additional information about this important project.
After a special allocation from the state was made during the 2019-2020 year to expand childcare access for student parents, the CFC project development process began. Since this project was not part of the existing campus master plan, several sites and project options were examined. This process involved various seismic and building-code studies on existing buildings and cost estimates for stand-alone site options across campus.
During this same period, construction costs began to increase dramatically, ultimately rising by as much as 50% during the pandemic and well above average inflation. This had critical implications for the renovation project and what was possible. It was determined that a new stand-alone childcare center wasn’t feasible, and the results from other studies found that renovating and expanding the existing CFC site was the best option. As a result, this would preclude childcare continuing on the existing site.
Emerging from the COVID disruption, in summer 2022, design for the new CFC began in earnest, as did the search for a temporary relocation. The Pointe emerged as a prime candidate, particularly because it had once served for three weeks as an emergency location for the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center when they experienced a facility issue at their primary site. However, 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. Meeting these rigorous licensing requirements and a multi-month application process resulted in The Pointe not being viable for relocated CFC services. In addition, since inflationary pressures continue in the construction market, there can be no delay in beginning the renovation project on schedule this summer.
President Conoley and I asked our campus teams to examine fully the feasibility of potential measures to avoid temporary suspension of CFC operations. Dozens of meetings and online discussions sought to find a solution, from securing spots in the Isabel Patterson Center to the use of modular units to identifying space at the VA previously used as a childcare site. In the end, these avenues, too, were unsuccessful.
We have exhausted all potential solutions.
The temporary suspension of CFC childcare services is disappointing and difficult. This is not where any of us wanted to land. A whole campus community has been concerned about this, including our co-workers if not directly impacted. I do ask that we decide to give one another grace and that we choose to earnestly accept we are ALL acting in the best interests of our families we love and the university we serve. As difficult as this has been for us all, I believe in this community and believe we will get through this.
To help support our CFC families that have yet to find other childcare options, our campus Employee Assistance Program, Empathia/LifeMatters is available to provide local childcare referrals to our faculty and staff. Empathia/LifeMatters may be reached 24/7 at 800.367.7474. Faculty and staff may also elect to enroll in the Dependent Care Reimbursement Account (DCRA) program, or to make adjustments to their DCRA deduction amount due to a change in childcare providers. These adjustments may be made 30 days prior to or 60 days following a change in childcare by contacting Benefits Services. Faculty or staff who wish to learn more about potential leave options may contact their respective leave of absence coordinators at either the Faculty Affairs office or Staff Human Resources.
I know that this is a challenging time for some of our CFC families. I also know that some of our families will be able to return to the newly renovated facility, which will continue to serve as an incredible asset to our Child Development students and the children and families it serves.
Cal State Long Beach has a comprehensive, multi-modal transportation program to meet the needs of the campus community, to work towards our sustainability commitments, and maintain the quality-of-life for nearby neighborhoods. Parking policy, traffic flows, use of mass transit, and communication programs are continually assessed to optimize access to and egress from campus. As such, parking demand, management, and controls are revised annually to meet current and future student, faculty, and staff needs. Along with our many neighbors whom elected to live near the university and enjoy the many benefits of living near an intellectual and cultural center, the institution places community feedback at the forefront of its ongoing planning. We believe in being a responsible and thoughtful steward-of-place and seek to be actively engaged with our neighbors.
The campus can only enforce parking within its perimeter. As a courtesy to our neighbors, off-campus “No CSULB Parking” signs may be posted in the neighborhoods directly adjacent to the campus perimeter for the first three weeks of each semester.
Any parking enforcement beyond the physical border of campus, no matter the driver’s ultimate destination, is the responsibility of the City of Long Beach Traffic Enforcement Division, and CSULB has no legal authority to enforce off-campus parking regulations.
All off-campus parking enforcement questions should be directed to the City of Long Beach Traffic Enforcement Division at 562.435.6711 or LBParking-Enforcement@longbeach.gov.