Local Government Childcare Solutions during COVID

What are some childcare solutions in local government to assist employees during the COVID-19 pandemic?

PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS | Aug 26, 2020

Prepared By: Samantha Corrales  

Research Question: "In our organization we are looking into some ways that might assist city employees with childcare. We are talking about a fund to allow children to attend camp created through a collaborative with the local Boys and Girls Club, Y, School District and other regional partners. There are also limits on childcare options for children under 5 where COVID has created a gap in service. In the County we have a cooperative group helping to provide options for residents. For our staff we are hearing rumors that a few employees might leave the organization to stay home and provide the best education possible for their children. We are still in the early stages of developing alternatives and I’m hoping that you all might be able to share some ideas you are kicking around or success in your region."

Executive Summary & Analysis (Key Points) 

  1. Repurposing People and Facilities  

  • School Districts 

  • Recreation centers  

  • Community Centers   

  1. Camps  

  • District of Oak Park  

  1. Identifying providers  

  • Childcare Aware 

  • Frontline Childcare 

  • On my way 

  1. Services for City Employees 

  • Paid Leave 

  • Telework Flexibility  

  • Childcare Assistance Program 

Research Findings 

Findings  
  1. Repurposing People and Facilities 

School Districts: City of Phoenix, AZ  

  • A school district in Phoenix allows kiddos of essential workers to be on campus. They are still attending school virtually. They log in from school with an aid in the room to support them.  

  • Lots of safety measures in place – masks, frequent hand washing, kids are in pods of no more than 15, but most pods are smaller than that. 

Recreation Centers: City of Spearfish, South Dakota  

  • The city would convert their recreation spaces to facilitate childcare services. They would ask recreation staff to run the daycare and would provide additional training.  

  • This model worked so well that the city wanted to make these services permanent. Also saw this an additional benefit because it brought another revenue source for the recreation center. 

  • For more information please click on this link  

https://icma.org/sites/default/files/Spearfish%20RFP.pdf 

Community Centers: Town of Vienna, Virginia  

  • The towns hosta a Distant Learning Center program ( DLC) that runs from Monday to Friday 6:30am - 5pm. It allows children to be supervised while going through their virtual learning and they offer limited academic support. 

  • The VSS State Licensing Exemption allows the town to hold a school age program, in a government building, operated by local government. 

  1. Camps 

District of Oak Park   

  • In order to address the massive childcare challenge for working parents in the Park District of Oak Park, they are hiring 55 day care workers to provide childcare in alignment with how we provide summer day camp (10 kid hubs) for kids to do their virtual schooling.  
  • Staff will be collaborating with the educators to make this work.  Other park districts are doing the same in the Chicago area. It is unclear at this point how or which agencies are paying for it.  

  1. Identifying providers  

Childcare Aware: New Hampshire  

  • The state been collecting names and credentials of individuals who are willing to provide temporary childcare services.  The program is also providing a list of individuals and organizations willing to provide temporary childcare services for working families and essential workers. 

  • For more information, please click this link http://nh.childcareaware.org/covid-19-alternative-child-care-options/ 

Frontline Childcare: Texas 

  • This is a hub to help the families of essential workers find early education, daycare, and after-school opportunities. Our portal allows frontline essential workers to find available licensed child care near their home or work. The website also provides each center’s operating hours and number of available seats by age group.  

  • For more information, please click this link https://frontlinechildcare.texas.gov/index.html   

On My Way: Indiana 

4. Services for City Employees 

Paid Leave 

  • The city of Clearwater provides paid FMLA leave for an employee who is unable to work (or telework) in order to care for the employee’s minor son or daughter when the child’s school or care provider is closed/unavailable due to a public health emergency. 

  • Covers all employees employed for at least 30 days or more. This includes part-time employees. The first 10 days of such leave is without pay (employee may choose to substitute accrued leave) but the remaining leave (up to 12 weeks) is paid by employer at two-thirds of the employee’s normal compensation. The paid leave shall not exceed $200 per day. 

  • For more information, please click on this link https://www.myclearwater.com/government/city-departments/human-resources/covid-19-updates-for-city-employees 

Telework Flexibility  

Childcare Assistance Program 

  • The city of Austin offers City employees with children under the age of 13 may be eligible for financial assistance of up to $50 per week, per child for all-day, week-long care. Eligibility is based on household size and family income. For example, a family of four with a gross income of less than $65,508 a year qualifies for assistance. Other requirements: Single parents must have child support orders in place. In a two-parent home, both parents must work at least 30 hours a week. Applications for the program are accepted only during Open Enrollment, within 31 days of being hired, or for an eligible change of childcare status. 
  • They also offer a program that is available to all employees with children ages 5 through 12, regardless of household size or family income. The program provides scholarships worth up to $50 a week at participating Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) Recreation Centers. Employees must apply by the first week of May each year in order to be placed on the PARD eligibility list.  

  • Finally, City employees can receive free assistance locating and researching potential childcare providers by contacting their Childcare Coordinator in the Employee Benefits Division 

  • For more information, please click on this link https://austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Employment/Childcare%20Page.pdf 

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