Portal builds on $100 million in state funding to open up more slots for abused or neglected children and sanitation, cleaning and PPE for child care facilities
SACRAMENTO – It’s unlikely any students will return to their classrooms this semester but there are glimmers of hope that some parents may return to work as some sectors of the economy may reopen within certain guidelines. If that happens, where will those children go during the day.
In order to help parents, including essential workers and vulnerable families, find safe, reliable and accessible child care options, Governor Gavin Newsom launched a new website last week.
“Our essential workers deserve to go to work knowing their kids are safe and cared for,” said Governor Newsom. “They’re there for our families, keeping hospitals, grocery stores and schools open during this pandemic. We need to be there for them. Our new portal will make accessing child care easier by allowing parents to find options that are convenient and reliable for their families.”
The new portal is available at covid19.ca.gov/childcare and enables parents to enter their location and the type of care they need, instantly receiving a list of local center-based and family child care programs. The list of open licensed child care programs will include health and safety information, age of children accepted, capacity, availability, hours and contact information for the program and local Child Care Resource and Referral agency. The Child Care Resource and Referral agencies can answer general questions, including those about child care subsidies.
There are about 250 child care facilities in Tulare County and over half of them have available slots as parents begin their planning for a summer without access to sports activities, day camps or even grandma’s house. There are open slots at child care facilities in nearly every community including one daycare center in Pixley, two in Exeter, two in Farmersville, two in Earlimart, two in Strathmore, two in Terra Bella, four in Cutler-Orosi, 20 in Dinuba, 24 in Visalia, 27 in Porterville, 29 in Tulare and 31 in Lindsay.
The Governor has made child care a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 16, the Department of Social Services (DSS) released guidance allowing for the fast tracked roll out of temporary employer sponsored child care to ensure that child care services are available for working families in need while schools are physically closed. DSS is available to help communities statewide with technical assistance to set up pop-up child care programs. As of today, there are 432 temporary pop-up child care programs throughout California.
On April 10, the Legislature passed SB 89, allocating $50 million for child care vouchers which prioritize children at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation, as well as children of essential workers under 85 percent of the State Medium Income. The vouchers are estimated to have created 20,000 limited-term additional state-subsidized slots. An additional $50 million will go toward child care facility cleaning and provides reimbursements for child care providers to purchase gloves, face coverings, cleaning supplies and labor. Checks are now being processed by the State Controller’s Office and should be received in the next few weeks.