With schools closed, many essential employees across California have struggled to find safe options for child care when they need to go work–and as more businesses begin to reopen, the child care crunch may become even tougher. To address those concerns, the state has launched a new tool to match families with available, licensed providers.
A search on the portal offers information for nearby providers, including ages the facility cares for and the number of spaces currently available. The tool also links directly to the latest health and safety inspection reports for that provider.
In Los Angeles, the system currently lists 2,217 child care providers–but, as Gavin Newsom acknowledged at today’s press briefing announcing the system, not every area of the state is as well covered. Efforts are underway through the California Department of Social Services to on-board additional centers, particularly in rural areas, as the program expands.
The state has also budgeted $50 million to sanitize certified child care centers and help provide access to child care subsidies. Officials will be working with care providers on strategies for helping young children understand and observe physical distancing.
Some version of this portal has been in development for a number of years but, with more than half of the state’s care centers closed or impacted by the pandemic, bringing the system online now was seen as an essential step on the road to economic recovery.
“We know that child care keeps California working,” said Department of Social Services Director Kim Johnson.