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GSA Delivers Quality In Its Child Care Centers

GSA # 9283

February 5, 1997
Contact: Johanna Roark or
Hap Connors
202-501-1231


For the fifth year in a row, the General Services Administration (GSA) reports growth in the number of child care centers it manages, the number of children served by those centers and the number of centers which have attained professional accreditation. Those were the findings in the GSA's annual report, Profile of Child Care Centers, just released.

"We are proud of the success of our Child Care Program," said GSA Acting Administrator David J. Barram. "We recognize that quality child care can benefit society as a whole. It is a bridge to the 21st Century. And, by assuring working parents that their children are receiving quality care, we are improving productivity and effectiveness in the workplace. This is a priority of the Clinton Administration."

The report demonstrates that quality care is essential to GSA. Accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children continues to be a high priority. Currently, 54 centers have attained accreditation. The remaining eligible centers are in the process of achieving that standard.

"By ensuring that children are in quality environments, and receive support and reinforcement from their teachers, we can provide the opportunity for positive development," said Faith Wohl, Director of the Office of Workplace Initiatives, which oversees GSA's nationwide child care programs.

With over 60% of its eligible centers accredited, GSA's childcare program far surpasses the national rate of about 5% for accredited child care centers. "This statistic expresses our determination to have a quality program in which children can learn and grow both socially and emotionally. Accreditation is a requirement for GSA centers," said Wohl.

Report Highlights: Quality, Affordability, Accessibility

In addition to growth in accreditation, the report shows growth in both the number of child care centers as well as the number of children participating. During the past fiscal year, GSA has opened three new centers. Projections call for an additional seven centers to open in fiscal year 97 and five centers to open in fiscal year 98. Also, total enrollment has increased by more than 600 children from last year.

The report also demonstrates growth in the number of families who received tuition assistance during fiscal year 1996 from just over 1,000 to over 1,700 families. The centers reported that over $1 million dollars in assistance was distributed by centers using funds from Combined Federal Campaign contributions, state funds and local fundraising events. Grant money, used for training and special programs to enhance the quality of child care, also affected the cost of child care to parents.

Wohl said, "The cost of caring for children is increasing each year. We must find new and creative ways to continue the same high quality care that has become the benchmark of the federal system. For working parents, child care is not a choice or a luxury, it's a necessity of life. They cannot work without it."

The issue of affordability is a major concern for parents and providers alike, creating a continuing need to balance increasing quality and the cost of the program with what parents can pay. The high cost of providing quality child care is still a challenge, despite the fact that some of the costs are absorbed because GSA provides space, equipment, furniture and essential building services, including security, free of charge to centers.

The authority to provide space and services for child care was granted to GSA in the Trible Amendment, enacted by Congress in 1985. By 1987, GSA was committed to developing child care centers and to assuring the quality of the programs. In 1990, the Office of Child Care and Development was established, and the work started by that office continues today as a key part of GSA's Office of Workplace Initiatives.

For more information on the report, or on attending GSA's Eighth Annual Child Care Conference in Chicago, Illinois, July 9-11, please contact the Office of Workplace Initiatives at (202) 501-3965.