Utah offering free child care to essential employees during COVID-19 pandemic

Photo by AntonioGuillem/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE — The Child Care Task Force has created a new program, “One Utah Child Care,” to meet the needs of essential employees, such as healthcare workers and first responders, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The online tool for parents to register is now available and services will begin Monday.

With the dismissal of schools and closures of some child care centers, employees who are vital to maintaining the health and safety of Utahns are in need of options for their children. This program will connect these employees with child care providers prepared to meet this need. Centers will first be available along the Wasatch Front and will continue to grow if additional needs arise.

“The heartening results from the child care subgroup to the Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force represent the incredible efforts of individuals and organizations coming together to meet a critical need in our community during this trying time,” Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said in a news release. “I’m humbled and proud of One Utah Child Care team, which is displaying our state’s ability to come together as one as we support our frontline healthcare workers at a time when they are valiantly serving each of us.”

Parents who are essential employees can go to jobs.utah.gov/covid19 now to complete an intake form that will connect them to a network of available providers. All participating providers are following strict social distancing and public health guidelines as outlined by the Department of Health’s Child Care Licensing program. Those guidelines are available on the child care licensing website.

For other individuals who are working, but do not fall under the category of essential employees, many Utah child care programs remain open and available with safety protocols in place to protect both the staff and children from the spread of COVID-19. Parents can find available providers at careaboutchildcare.org. The Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force encourages everyone with child care needs to first reach out to their own network of friends, families and neighbors to help.

“Child care is always an important need, but now more so than ever,” said Tracy Gruber, office of child care director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services and liaison to the Governor’s task force, in the news release. “I am proud of the solutions created by the Child Care Task Force, as well as our child care providers. Our priority continues to be meeting the needs of parents and caring for Utah’s children.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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