Princeton Community Family Learning Center is offering free childcare to seven qualifying applicants and reduced pre-school and daycare to an additional seven applicants.
To be eligible, applicants must enroll on a Child Care Connections voucher, live in Mercer County, demonstrate financial need, have a child between the ages of two-and-a-half and six and be able to provide transportation to and from the center on All Saints Road .
Offering access to free and reduced childcare is part of PCFLC Director Lori Musa’s way of giving back.
“There was a time in my life when I was a single mom with four children,” Musa said. “Back then, there were generous people who saw me through my graduate degree and I couldn’t have made it without them. And I see equally as worthy people looking for a helping hand to organize their lives to make it better for themselves and their kids.”
It began when a parent presented Musa with a voucher she had never seen before as payment to the Princeton preschool and daycare.
The voucher came through Child Care Connection, a state-contracted agency that administers vouchers for NJ Cares for Kids and Work First NJ.
Musa quickly began the process to have her center qualified to accept state vouchers.
“They make sure your center meets the state standards, that your license is intact, you have to be squeaky clean,” Musa said. “We passed and so now it’s so rewarding to take a child on board that typically wouldn’t have access to a learning center, let alone in Princeton.”
Vouchers are typically applied to the cost of childcare, with the parents paying the difference.
Musa is taking it one step further.
“As a community learning center, PCFLC is accepting the vouchers as tuition paid in full in an effort to make quality early childhood education available to all socioeconomic groups in our community,” she said.
Musa is offering seven in-house scholarships as payment in full- by providing a PCFLC scholarship to make up the difference between the voucher payment and the tuition rate. After the seven scholarships have been granted, PCFLC will continue to accept the vouchers, but parents will pay the difference, with a sliding scale available.
Childcare at PCFLC can cost anywhere from $230 to nearly $1,100 per month, depending on the number of hours of care provided each week, Musa said.
If approved, new students could enter PCFLC as early as January 2013.