The Citrus College Child Development Center opened in 1978 with 38 preschool children. The Center was built in the center of the college campus for easy access to all college services. Almost immediately, it became obvious additional services were needed. Within the first year, full-cost children, children of faculty and staff, and infant care were added.
In 1981, parent education became an integral part of the Center and the first parent educator was hired.
In 1986, state funding expanded the Center's capacity and services to children, and the Center continued to grow in order to meet the demand for quality child care.
Also, in 1986, Foster/Kinship Care Education began. The Foster/Kinship Program provides education and support services to foster parents, relative caregivers, social workers, and group home staff.
In 1990, the Center earned Accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Accreditation is awarded to Centers which demonstrate a commitment to providing high-quality programs for young children and their families.
In 1991, in recognition of the Center's continued long wait lists, the college administration included a new Infant Center in the college's five-year plan. Funds were awarded in 1989, 1990 and 1991 by the Chancellor's Office. Plans were completed in 1990 and construction for the new Infant Center began in 1991.
In 1992, the Infant Center was completed and and opened. In response to the low salaries and little professional status, as well as other issues that plague child development teachers, the Mentor Teacher Program was made available to Citrus College students. This program provides advanced training for experienced teachers who wish to become mentors to beginning teachers.
In 1993, the Independent Living Programs began. The Independent Living Programs provide emancipation trainings for foster youth, probation youth, and relative care youth.
In Spring 1996, as parents need longer hours of care to accommodate school and work schedules, the Evening Care Program opened. School-age evening care was added to accommodate children ages five years through 10 years.
In 1998, the Early Childhood Career Ladder (ECCL) began. ECCL is an intensive, full-time weekday program with paid internships, special workshops, and supervised study enabling students to obtain a Child Development Permit with the State of California. ECCL provides an opportunity for CalWORKS participants to gain the necessary education and experience to become early childhood educators.
In 1999, the Infant Center is awarded the "Program for Infant/Toddler Caregivers (PITC) Model Demonstration Site" status from the California Department of Education, receiving the highest final score in the State of California.
In 2001, acknowledging the Child Development Center's outstanding statewide recognition, a donation of a $1 million endowment was made to the CDC – at the time, the largest single gift in Citrus College history.
In 2004, the Center's main play ground received a whole new look with new equipment, ground surface, gazebo, storage sheds and landscaping. This endeavor was the culminated efforts of many hard working people, including, but not limited to, the CDC staff, outside contractors, and our own Citrus College Facilities and Grounds personnel.
In 2006, remodeling was done within the Center to accommodate the transition from an 'open environment setting' to a 'closed classroom setting.' The Center was then set up to provide "before school" child care (in the mornings from 6:30 to 8 a.m.) and "after school" care (in the afternoons from 4 to 6:30 p.m.) with the classrooms being open the core of the day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In 2007, the Foster Youth Program – now known as the Youth Empowerment Strategies for Success (or YESS Program) – connected to the Chancellor's Office through "The Foundation for California Community Colleges." This greatly expanded services provided to youth, such as a resource center which meets the needs of foster youth that are both college age and high school age.
In 2011, the Center celebrated 33 years of operation and continued to provide quality nurturing care for children of staff, students and the community at-large until mid-June 2012, when services were suspended.