Berea College student pushes for more childcare options

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Posted at 7:06 PM, Oct 21, 2021

MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Berea College student is pushing for the school to offer more childcare options.

The single mother says she's about to be homeless because the college doesn't have options for people like her.

Kristi Worley traveled hundreds of miles from Virginia with her 7-year-old daughter Rowan just to attend the college.

"I was like this is a perfect place for me and my daughter," said Worley.

With its no-tuition promise, Worley planned to study art, work the maximum 10 hours a week to get her education debt-free, and live in the Eco Village for non-traditional students.

"I thought that this would be a really great school, especially because they vouch so much about being for families," said Worley.

Now she's fighting to keep her and her daughter off the streets. She can no longer live in Berea College's housing because she took a leave of absence from school.

"If there was childcare in place anyway, I wouldn't have had to take a leave of absence, and I feel like kind of backed in a corner," explained Worley.

Berea College's childcare centers don't accept school-age children. So, when her seven-year-old's elementary shutdown and switched to virtual, Worley must stay home from class and work.

"I have been mentioning to a lot of the faculty about childcare options or even raising the age limit at CBL or something like that. But nothing has changed so far," said Worley.

She and her daughter have to be out of their apartment by Friday.

"They were kind enough to just save this apartment for me for spring. And I can keep all my stuff here, but we're not allowed to be here," said Worley.

Working 10 hours a week at the college, she says she couldn't afford an outside childcare center.

When we called childcare centers in the Berea area, the average weekly cost for a school-age child ranged from $80 to $185 a week.

"It's just very expensive. I don't have the money to do it," said Worley.

We reached out to Berea College about the situation and to see if any changes would take place.

They sent us this statement:

"Out of respect for the privacy of all of our students, we do not comment on specific student issues. At Berea College, we take the health, safety, and success of our students very seriously, and we have a number of campus resources available to assist students throughout their college careers. We encourage any student experiencing difficulties to let a professor or advisor know as soon as possible."