Free child care proposed for essential workers

Posted at 6:44 PM, Apr 08, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Many essential workers in the era of the coronavirus are faced with a parenting dilemma. Their skills and services are desperately needed, but many are struggling to find and pay for child care.

"I have to stay home and I'm forced to use my PTO, which is very minimal at this point," said Becky Bland. "When that runs out we have no other options."

Bland is a physical therapy assistant at Tri-City Medical Center.

"Our children are forced to be home from school right now and our jobs are forcing us to be at work right now so something's gotta give," Bland added.

But for Bland and others like her, help could be on the way.

Several local organizations came together to create the San Diego Emergency Child Care Taskforce. They're hoping to secure vouchers for parents to choose which child care they want at absolutely no cost. The San Diego Workforce Partnership, The Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Child Development Associates and Service Employees International Union are working together on this project.

"We are asking for an investment of $5 million in immediate county emergency funding to provide childcare for 3,000 front line workers for one month," said Rich Richardson, CEO, Child Development Associations.

The proposal comes shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to expand access to child care for essential workers.

The local proposal would apply to all essential workers, including healthcare, first responders and grocery store employees.

The task force has submitted the proposal to county and state leaders. Upon approval of funds, organizers say they can get the program up and running in about one week.

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