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Child-care program gets $542,000 grant

By Nancy Templeman

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 22 - February 29, 1996

Child care is important to every parent, and perhaps even more so to military parents, who may be absent from their dependents during long tours of duty. Virginia Tech faculty members are working with the U.S. Marine Corps to make sure that Marines at all 19 corps installations state-side and overseas have the best possible care for their children.

Faculty members in the Department of Family and Child Development and other experts are developing child-care programs and child-care-provider training programs for the Marine Corps. Victoria Fu, who is the lead investigator, received the $542,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture/U.S.M.C. grant that is funding the project.

"We have collected materials from many diverse sources," Fu said. "We put out a call over Internet bulletin boards and newsletters, as well as through more traditional routes." All of the collected materials are being evaluated, and the researchers will include the best ones among the resources for the programs they develop. Faculty members also are identifying areas where they need to create additional and new materials in order to have a comprehensive program to train the trainers and provide age-appropriate curricula for the children.

Once completed, the programs and resources being developed will provide the Marine Corps training and curriculum specialists (T&C's) and selected supplemental program and service coordinators (SPS's) with the knowledge and skills they need to accomplish the project's goals. These specialists and coordinators will teach and support child-development-program staff members in the implementation of developmentally appropriate programs for children in both center and family day care. They will support latchkey children who take care of themselves and help them engage in meaningful activities. The trained T&C's also will teach individuals to set up family child care both on- and off-base and build collaborative linkages among children, families, child-care settings, and community agencies.

The child-development faculty members working on the project with Fu are Janet Sawyers and Jay Mancini; Andrew Stremmel, Mark Benson, and Cosby Rogers; Jean Vogler, assistant director of the Virginia Tech Laboratory School, and Ann Francis, director of the Virginia Tech Resource and Referral Service. The adult-education faculty members are Harold W. Stubblefield, Marcie Boucouvalous, and Albert Wiswell. Extension specialists Peggy Harrelson and Rudy Powell at Virginia State University also are working on the project.