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Child Care

As part of our commitment to help Virginia Tech employees find harmony between work and personal responsibilities, Hokie Wellness is pleased to provide child care options available locally. While Hokie Wellness is pleased to provide this information, it is important to note that we are not endorsing any individual form of child care.

We believe that parents are best qualified to choose child care arrangements for their children. As a parent, it is your responsibility to carefully visit, interview, and check the references of each provider or center.

The links below can help make the process of selecting child care and finding assistance as easy as possible for the Virginia Tech community.

  • The Department of Social Services (DSS): Maintains a database that allows parents to learn more about child care and search for licensed child care. Parents have the ability to search places of care and review inspection history, including the frequency, nature of and dates of violations.

  • ChildCare Aware of Virginia: Child Care Aware of Virginia is a community-based network of child care and early education specialists. The organization delivers services to families, child care professionals and communities, working to increase the accessibility, availability and quality of child care in Virginia.

  • Virginia Quality: Allows parents to learn about quality ratings and search for child care, including home care, that is Virginia quality rated.

The Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP)

You may qualify for assistance with child care costs under temporary and expanded eligibility criteria.

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Subsidy Eligibility May 2021.pdf Child Care Subsidy Program Promotional Flyer

The DSS also provides options for child care assistance.

  • Child Development Center for Learning and Research (CDCLR): The Child Development Center for Learning and Research (CDCLR) within the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences is nationally accredited and provides a model preschool program for children and their families rooted in child development theory, research and developmentally appropriate practice. All children of Virginia Tech employees qualify to attend the CDCLR.

  • Employee Assistance Program: a free resource for employees enrolled in a health care plan that provides a wide variety of caregiving services.

  • Virginia Tech Graduate School Resources: The Graduate School provides the following resources to help parents.

  • Women's Center: Some of the Women's Center caregiving resources include those located on the Caregiving Support page on their website. This includes caregiver check-ins, the Working Parents Listserv, and additional resources.

  • The Student List contains the names of Virginia Tech students, who are interested in part-time work caring for children in their own homes (i.e., baby-sitting). We maintain this list as a convenience to parents, as well as students, but do not endorse any individuals. We do supply information regarding training and/or experience and availability as well as references, but it is the responsibility of the family to research anyone they may wish to employ as a child care provider. Please keep in mind that the first responsibility of these students is to their education; they should not be expected to put outside jobs before studies.

    To receive the Student List contact Hokie Wellness.

To meet the growing demand for high-quality, affordable child care services for the children of university employees, Virginia Tech entered into an agreement with Rainbow Riders Childcare. The Virginia Tech News article discusses the partnership in more detail.

To learn more about the partnership, please see the Frequently Asked Questions below. For more information, contact Hokie Wellness at hokiewellness@vt.edu or by calling 540-231-8878.

Please note: Enrollment is not guaranteed as we are currently experiencing a shortage of childcare enrollment openings throughout the New River Valley. See FAQ’s below for explanation or contact Ana Agud at Hokie Wellness for more information. Tours of Rainbow Riders are typically scheduled between 9-11am or 3-4pm. Please call 540-552-3636 to schedule your tour.

Frequently Asked Questions

How was Rainbow Riders chosen to be the recipient of the Virginia Tech funding?

Rainbow Riders was selected by means of a Request for Proposal (RFP) designed by a Virginia Tech childcare committee in consultation with the Virginia Tech Procurement Department. It was made available to each licensed childcare center in Blacksburg and Christiansburg, as well as four national childcare chains.

Responses were received from two chains and were financially unacceptable. Of the three local responses, the Rainbow Riders proposal offered clear advantages to Virginia Tech employees including, but not limited to, the program’s demonstrated ability to provide consistent quality early care and education, the program’s accreditation by National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), participation in the Commonwealths Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), proximity to the main Virginia Tech campus, and the number of openings it could ensure annually to Virginia Tech faculty, staff and graduate students.

How long is the contract with Rainbow Riders?

The contract took effect on July 1, 2009 and was renewed in 2019 for five more years. The goal of this contract is for 60 percent of new enrollment to go to Virginia Tech families which will hopefully accommodate approximately 24-36 children annually.

Does the University have a priority list for enrollment at Rainbow Riders?

Yes. Employees and graduate students should contact their Dean or Department Head to be considered for placement on the University priority list. In the spring of each year, College Deans and the Offices of the President, Provost and Administration identify any preferred recruits or other employees who have childcare needs. That information is provided to Hokie Wellness who works with the Office of the Provost and Rainbow Riders to identify placement opportunities. Because of the many factors involved in allocation of enrollment, there is no guarantee that such requests can be accommodated.

What factors are involved when Rainbow Riders determines assignment of available openings?

Children of current Rainbow Riders staff and families are given first priority for available openings. Secondly, enrollment allocations are drawn from the partner priority lists. Then enrollment openings are filled from the waiting list based on children’s age and first date of contact.

How will the Virginia Tech openings be allocated?

There is a great deal of complexity involved in filling available openings in each classroom. Many factors are considered, such as preference to already enrolled families, age and developmental level of the child, teacher-child ratio requirements, space limitation, high demand for a small number of infant and toddler spots, and more.

While the intention is to serve the entire university community, the complexity of enrollment openings makes it impossible to guarantee that each contributing financial partner will get an exactly proportional share of spots based on contribution level and employee count.

When an opening becomes available in a particular age group, the Rainbow Riders Enrollment Director goes to the waiting list database and pulls all names that fall within that range. Families are called in order of first date of contact, in other words, when the family first submitted their application to Rainbow Riders through the online enrollment form found on this . Virginia Tech families need to also ensure they are working with their Dean or Department Head to be considered for placement on the university-based priority waiting list.

I have been placed on the university-based priority waiting list. Do I need to renew my priority placement every year?

Yes, in the spring of each year, College Deans and the Offices of the President, Provost and Administration identify any preferred recruits or other employees who have childcare needs.

Who can I talk to about the decision-making process regarding priority spots in my college or administrative unit?

Decisions regarding priority openings are made by College Deans in collaboration with Department Heads or by the Head of the Administrative unit.

Why would an opening go to someone who isn’t yet employed by Virginia Tech, or who hasn’t been here as long as I have?

It is very important that Virginia Tech attract and retain talented faculty from highly competitive national and international markets. The availability of high-quality childcare can be a central factor in such recruitment and retention.

Will Virginia Tech families receive discounted tuition from Rainbow Riders?

No. All families will pay standard tuition regardless of affiliation. The Rainbow Riders Parent Teacher Association does offer tuition scholarships for income-eligible families. Rainbow Riders is also a subsidy vendor with the Commonwealth. Information on subsidy requirements and application can be found here.

Does the College of Engineering have an additional partnership with Rainbow Riders?

Yes, a separate contract was established in 2004 and has been renewed every 5 years. The College of Engineering receives 12 percent of new enrollment openings. The Dean’s office determines priority given based on criteria that is shared with employees and graduate students in the department.

How is the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC) involved in the plan?

The Virginia Tech CRC contributes additional funds each year to guarantee 12 percent of new enrollment openings annually for non-Virginia Tech employees located at the CRC.

Are Virginia Tech employees whose offices are located at the CRC part of the Virginia Tech allotment or the CRC allotment?

Individuals employed by Virginia Tech will be part of the Virginia Tech allotment, regardless of office location.

How can I determine for sure if I am a Virginia Tech or a CRC employee?

The source of your paycheck should answer this question.

I am not currently on the Rainbow Riders wait list. How can I get on it?

Go to this page of the Rainbow Riders website to submit a completed enrollment application. Be sure to indicate that you are a Virginia Tech employee.

I am already on the Rainbow Riders wait list. How do I update my information?

Go to this page of the Rainbow Riders website to submit your updated information. Make a note in the comment section to indicate that you have previously applied. Rainbow Riders will cross reference you and be sure that the earliest contact date is maintained.

How can I find out what number I am on the list?

The waiting list is a database. When an enrollment opening becomes available, a list of children in the designated age range is generated and calls are made based on the first date of contact.

What factors are involved when Rainbow Riders determine the assignment of available openings?

Children of current Rainbow Riders staff and families are given first priority for available openings. Secondly, enrollment allocations are drawn from the partner priority lists. Then enrollment openings are filled from the waiting list based on children’s age and first date of contact.

When do I need to get onto the Rainbow Riders waiting list?

It is recommended that you complete the enrollment application on Rainbow Riders website as soon as possible. Spaces are limited for children under three years. It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to be offered enrollment.

When will I find out if my child has been accepted at Rainbow Riders?

While a small number of openings may become available throughout the year, generally the distribution of openings begins in early spring of each year. Families who are accepted are contacted by Rainbow Riders and given a date by which they must place a deposit for enrollment. At that time, a tour of the center is scheduled so families can meet teachers and see the classroom environment.

I am a Virginia Tech staff member. Is my child less likely to get a spot than the child of a faculty member?

No. Except for the priority spots mentioned earlier, enrollment is based on the first date of contact for a particular age group.

I work for one of the smaller colleges. Is my child less likely to get a spot?

No.

My partner and I are both Virginia Tech employees. Will our child be more likely to get a spot?

No.

Do I get a lower priority as a graduate student?

No.

What other rules are there about eligibility for the Virginia Tech openings?

For employees, at least one member of the family must be a salaried employee at time of invitation to be enrolled. Graduate students must be enrolled full-time when offered an opening.

I am on a waiting list to adopt a child. Can I get on the Rainbow Riders list?

Yes. Go to this page of the Rainbow Riders website to submit a completed enrollment application. It is alright if you do not yet know the child’s name or date of birth. You want to make this first date of contact. Be sure to indicate why you did not fill out the birth date and name in the comment section. Update this information as soon as you find out.

My baby is due in September but will not need care until November 15. Will our baby be able to start on that date?

Rainbow Riders expects openings about four times during the year: January, March, June, and August. August has the most turnover, creating the newest enrollment openings, because pre-Kindergarten children leave for elementary school. January and March have few openings and mostly accommodate the currently enrolled families expecting babies. Occasionally, openings occur mid-year and those are filled immediately from the waiting list after in-house needs are accommodated.

What happens if we are offered a spot, but are not ready to enroll our child?

If enrollment is offered to a family who is not ready to start, they may turn the spot down, remain on the list with the same contact date, and wait for the next opening. Families may also opt to pay to hold the spot until they are ready to enroll.

Who can I talk to about the enrollment process?

You may contact the Rainbow Riders’ Enrollment Director at enrollment.rainbowriders@gmail.com or at 540-552-3636.