HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — As many parents prepare to head back to work on Friday, as more counties enter the yellow phase, one big issue that remains is child care.
Some programs are staying closed while others are opening with limited enrollment.
Whether your child was in daycare or you need to find a new program while you work, things will look a little different starting Friday in several Midstate counties.
As the state starts to open up, the need for child care is more evident.
“I would make sure to reach out to them immediately to find out what their plans are for opening their program, what kind of their timetable is,” said Diane Barber, executive director of the Pennsylvania Child Care Association.
The commonwealth has received feedback from northern counties that are already in the yellow phase.
“We’re hearing from providers that they’re not at full capacity with families returning that need child care right now,” said Tracey Campanini, deputy secretary of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning.
Some providers are trying to keep it that way.
“Some are trying to restart small so they have everything under control before they open completely, so they may limit enrollment to children who were enrolled prior to their shutdown,” Barber said.
Another substantial hurdle is paying for care, something that’s been a problem even before the pandemic.
“Through the ELRC, the Early Learning Resource Center, there is the subsidized child care program, and that helps working parents pay for child care. There are income guidelines for that,” said Stacie Shurock, community services manager for Child Care Consultants.
Shurock says if you need to choose a new child care center, make sure to do your research, even if you can’t visit in person.
The Early Learning Resource Center in the Midstate is Child Care Consultants, which can help you make that decision.
“We have the state database of all certified providers, its centers as well as group and family childcare. They can call and we can talk to one of our referral specialists and they’ll walk you through making that decision,” Shurock said.
For help, you can also email email@example.com
Campanini wants to remind people that there are stringent health and safety standards that are in place. Providers are now also following CDC guidelines.
“Child care providers had these skills and abilities and we’re reinforcing them and families should know that’s a real sensitivity and childcare providers who are open are really taking that to heart,” Campanini said.
Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced initial distribution of $51 million from the federal government earmarked for child care providers. It will reach nearly 7,000 child care centers to help offset costs.