Child Care for the JHU Homewood Campus
To President Ronald J. Daniels and the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins University
We the undersigned members of the Johns Hopkins University faculty are proud to be part of this world-class institution, and grateful for the many privileges and benefits that the university provides its employees. At the same time, we are greatly disappointed that an institution of this caliber has neglected to provide access to childcare for those among us who work at the heart of the university: the Homewood campus.
Of the top 50 national research universities in the United States, 45 have established and supported child care facilities for the infants and young children of their faculty and staff. Most of these facilities have been established on the physical campuses of these universities, and all but a few provide child care from the age of infancy. Johns Hopkins University is one of only five institutions among this list that has not fulfilled this need.
The absence of such an initiative is surprising given the presence of a School of Education with more than a century of history at Johns Hopkins, one that offers its students graduate certification in preschool special education among many other degrees. Also puzzling are the conditions that govern the operation of the Johns Hopkins Child Care and Early Learning Center in downtown Baltimore, founded 12 years ago, but barred from serving the faculty and staff of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering.
For nearly twenty years, numerous committees and working groups have explored various child care ideas for the Homewood community, without yielding any actionable plans. Costs and resource constraints have been cited repeatedly as obstacles, while a wide range of smaller institutions right here in Baltimore – Towson University, the University of Maryland—Baltimore, the University of Maryland—Baltimore County, and the College of Notre Dame – have established on-site child care facilities for their faculty and staff.
Arguing that “working parents bring a unique level of compassion and understanding to their jobs,” Johns Hopkins Medicine offers on-site childcare at both the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. And we applaud the vision with which Johns Hopkins University announced in 2012 its plans to establish a dedicated early childhood center for its Henderson-Hopkins elementary school initiative in East Baltimore.
The “Ten by Twenty” statement of university goals includes attracting “the very best faculty and staff in the world through a welcoming and inclusive environment.” But there is no question that access to safe, proximate, and affordable child care is essential for the effective recruitment and retention of such employees, and for the wellbeing of their families. Vision 2020, a report released in 2006 by the University Committee on the Status of Women, specifically recommended that the university “expand affordable dependent care…as a strategic initiative to aid in recruitment and retention of faculty and staff members and students.” And the 2010 Cole Report on the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences identified “access to adequate day-care facilities” as a “school-wide need.”
An affordable childcare facility for infants and young children on the Homewood campus would tremendously improve the lives of hundreds of Homewood families, enabling them to better serve the public mission of the university. We call on Johns Hopkins University to take immediate action to address this serious and longstanding concern.