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COVID-19

Emergency Child Care Programs On Central, South Coasts Help Keep Essential Workers At Work

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Lorin Blaver and her husband Alan were facing a crisis on top of a crisis.  She’s an ICU nurse at Cottage Hospital, and he works in healthcare support services.  

They are essential workers, but when the crisis hit, childcare services for their six-year-old son and three-year-old daughter closed.  

That's the case with a number of essential workers on the Central and South Coasts, who found themselves in the same situation. For some, it's led to a unique solution.

Eileen Monahan is Project Manager for the Emergency Child Care Initiative. 

Some generous foundations saw the crisis, and stepped up to help create the program.  Monahan says the focus is on those from six month to 12 years old.  The centers are spread throughout Santa Barbara County, with about 278 slots available.  About 120 are in use as of this week.

Blaver says the program has allowed her and her husband to be there for the community at their essential jobs, while knowing their kids are in good hands.

Monahan says other foundations have joined in the effort, including the James S. Bower Foundation, the Monroe Foundation, and the Linked Foundation.  The United Way of Santa Barbara County has helped administer the project.

Monahan says the $500,000 committed to the project is keeping it running for now.  But, it isn’t enough for a long term solution.  With issues like social distancing reducing group size, and extra cleaning requirements, day care costs are skyrocketing.

Child Development Resources of Ventura County is providing the same type of services to some of the children of essential workers in Ventura County.