Emergency Child Care
You’ve likely heard by now that all child care programs in the state are closed and will remain so for as long as we are under a state of emergency. Temporary emergency back up child care has been set up an is opening as of today, Monday, March 23. Here is some further information about both of these issues.
Emergency Back Up Child Care
- Recognizing that some people still need to work and have no other option, the state has authorized some child care providers to provide emergency, back up, drop-in child care.
- A list of providers is posted on EEC’s website, and more will be added. So far, there are are a few hundred such providers, most operating 7:30am or 8:30 am- 5:00 pm. EEC hopes to make the list more searchable, but for now, it’s posted as a PDF.
- Here’s who will have priority access, from EEC’s website:
- Priority will be given to people including but not limited to health care workers, essential state and human service workers, COVID-19 health workers, grocery store employees, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, transportation and infrastructure workers, sanitation workers, DCF-involved families, and families living in shelters.
- Based on a webinar with the Commissioner on Friday, it seems programs will use their discretion in deciding who gets care.
- To access care, a family must call each provider to see if they have space on a day by day basis.
- These programs will be completely free to families.
- This is a fundamentally different program from regular early education. While there are health and safety requirements, they are not as stringent as regular early education. EEC has prioritized approving providers that already held EEC licenses, had a site visit in the past 6 months, and where all staff had completed background records checks.
- Families are encouraged to find other non-group care to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
- Families will be provided a spot, to the extent available, day by day.
- No transportation will be provided. Families need to find a way to get their children to the program and home each day.
- Child care will be provided in center based settings, with no more than 2 classrooms open, with a max of 20 children in each classroom. Ages will be mixed. Normal rules about ratios do not apply.
- Child care will also be provided in family child care, i.e. providers in their homes. I believe that is limited to 10 children per provider.
- The amount the state is paying providers will not cover the basic operating costs of running these programs. Programs are stepping up majorly to help our communities. DPH will prioritize COVID-19 testing for child care providers who may be exposed to coronavirus.
Child Care Closures
- Although child care providers are closed, many private providers continue to charge families their regular tuition. Here’s what Attorney General Maura Healey’s office has put out about that. https://www.mass.gov/guides/resources-during-covid-19#-child-care-and-resources-for-families-&-young-children-
- Programs that receive child care subsidies will continue to be paid their full subsidized rate, with the state picking up the portion that would normally be paid through parent fees. To be clear, families with subsidized child care do not need to pay their regular parent fee to maintain their subsidy.
- When this is all over, families will get their subsidies back.
Please contact our Resident Services Coordinator Netanya Ortiz if you have any questions using our contact us page or clicking here.