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Wednesday, November 1, 2006
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Child care committee considering expansion of options

ATHENS, Ohio (Nov. 1, 2006) -- A committee formed by Ohio University Provost Kathy Krendl has been charged to develop recommendations about how to improve child care options available to children of graduate students and faculty and staff as well as Athens area residents.

The committee, made up of members associated with the university, is responding to a need expressed by several of the Vision OHIO committees.

Wayne Chiasson, Terry Conry, Daniel Denhart, Lynn Harter, Jim Kemper, Beth Maxson, Todd Myers and Amy Taylor-Biano are working with local organizations such as the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD).

"We're trying to determine how we can facilitate some enhanced service availability, not just for Ohio University or on the campus, but more broadly for the Athens community," said Terry Conry, associate vice president for finance and administration for facilities and auxiliaries.

"We're covering a full gamut of options to expand what's currently available so that everyone can benefit, not just faculty and staff," he said.

The committee is taking advantage of work already done by COAD, which collects data on the availability and demand for child care in different regions. For example, according to the COAD Web site, the maximum capacity for infant care in Athens is 52.

"We see this as a way to clearly assist in the recruiting and retention of graduate students as noted in the Vision OHIO planning process," said Jim Kemper, a committee member and associate vice president for finance and administration for human resources.

"We're going to start with something as simple as a link from our human resources Web site to COAD," Conry said.

The site has information and resources to match facilities with the needs of individual families. Currently, the Ohio University Child Development Center cannot accommodate the demand for care in the university. There are more than 200 children on the waiting list, which is two years or more.

COAD also does training, development and certification of child care networks, aiming to help providers exceed legal requirements and to help consumers more easily evaluate providers when searching for a service. A three-star rating system is the immediate gauge of quality COAD uses.

"The broad-based representation of the committee is working exceedingly well. Each faculty and administrative staff member clearly desires to move forward by conducting needs analysis and developing a request for proposals to potential child care providers," Kemper said.

"We're really interested in improving the situation for the entire Athens community," Conry said. "The committee is also seeking input from all Athens residents, including those involved with the university." You can reach Conry at 740-593-0736 or conry@ohio.edu.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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