Modified: March 24, 2020 10:57am
In light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and the prolonged closure of area schools, many essential front-line workers are struggling to get to work because they lack sufficient child care arrangements. Human Resource directors of the major hospitals, along with unions representing health care workers, have reported this challenge. Erie County has been coordinating with local school districts, which were tasked by Governor Cuomo to develop childcare plans for essential personnel in their respective districts. Additionally, the Child Care Resource Network (“CCRN”) has created a system to match essential front-line workers with child care programs that remain open and have vacancies for those children.
In order to facilitate this matching process, CCRN is asking that all essential front-line workers who need child care complete a parent survey. Once CCRN receives a completed parent survey, their Child Care Navigators will compile a list of child care providers with vacancies near their home or place of work and call the parents with the results. CCRN is also asking that providers keep their vacancy numbers updated through the provider survey. Both the parent and provider survey are located on the CCRN website www.wnychildren.org . Parents or child care providers who are unable to access the online surveys may call CCRN at (716) 877-6666 ext. 3064.
Maria Whyte, Deputy County Executive and Co-Chair of the County’s Emergency Childcare Task Force, said, “Health care workers, first responders, municipal employees, grocery store clerks, and other essential personnel are the backbone of our community in this time of crisis. But, in order for them to do their critically important jobs, they need reliable childcare. Erie County remains grateful for our strategic partnership with CCRN. They have developed a regional survey, which will function as a central clearinghouse for all childcare needs, thereby ensuring childcare is available to the essential workforce that is leading our community through this crisis.”
“Child Care Resource Network has been Erie County’s child care resource and referral organization for over 30 years. We are proud to be able to offer this service to the community’s essential front-line workers when we need them most,” said CCRN CEO Kimberly Suminski.
The state has recently expanded the definition of essential workers to include licensed health professionals, direct support professionals, first responders, food manufacturers, supermarket workers, commercial truck drivers, nonprofit service providers, and others. The exact number of individuals and families classified as essential workers and in need of childcare during this time remains unclear. As such, all essential workers in need of childcare are STRONGLY encouraged to complete CCRN’s parent survey at www.wnychildren.org/covid-19-update .
A more complete list can be found by visiting the State Education Department’s website at:
CCRN and Erie County will continue to provide regular updates from the Emergency Childcare Task Force.
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