Child care available for Sonoma’s essential workers

First spots available for hospital workers, other essential workers hopefully to follow|

A partnership between the Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County (4Cs), the County of Sonoma Emergency Operations Center and First 5 Sonoma County has resulted in a rapid deployment of emergency child care for hospital workers and possibly, other essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

4Cs Sonoma County will serve as the centralized administrator of a child care system that will provide sustained, stable groups of care for the children of essential workers. Establishing care for 50 children of hospital and critical healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis is the highest priority as the system is initially funded and launched. The slots are being filled on a referral only basis from local hospitals.

If you are an essential health care worker and have no other child care option, contact your employer to see if you qualify. An additional 50 slots may be coordinated depending on how the emergency progresses and the duration of the shelter-in-place order.

4Cs Sonoma County has subcontracted with licensed child care providers to provide care for children, ages 6 months through 13 years, in a variety of settings. Providers include the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Santa Rosa, North Bay Children’s Center, Sonoma County Family YMCA and licensed small family child care providers. Child care providers will receive a hazard pay premium and incentive to guarantee slots for specified age groups under the mandatory group size and group “stability” requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We felt it was critical to support our emergency workers and their families. Working with established licensed programs and family child care homes is a perfect partnership, we are supporting small child care businesses while providing quality programs to their children in this difficult time,” said Melanie Dodson, executive director of 4Cs Sonoma County, in a press release announcing the program.

The emergency child care administration and direct services are funded through a combination of public funds because child care has been deemed a critical and essential service to support emergency response during the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, First 5 Sonoma County was able to quickly move tobacco tax funding through the First 5 Commission’s Responsive Grants program, by issuing a one-time payment to incentivize the commitment of child care providers that operate on thin margins by guaranteeing payment for child care slots.

“The COVID-19 crisis, as did previous disasters, shines a bright light on how absolutely critical child care is to the basic infrastructure of our community,” said Angie Dillon-Shore, executive director of First 5 Sonoma County in the same announcement.

For essential workers, who are not in the emergency health care field and need to find child care, the 4Cs Child Care Resource and Referral department has a list of current licensed providers who remain open and are taking families. Email or call 544-3077.

If you are a licensed child care provider with available slots for essential workers, please contact 4Cs to be added to the referral list.

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