For many essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 public health crisis, it’s hard to find a babysitter. Coronavirus has closed schools and shuttered many daycares across the country.
That’s why local organizations launched programs to provide child care relief to those—including UT Health San Antonio doctors and nurses—grappling with going to work and finding affordable child care for their homebound kids.
United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County joined forces with the San Antonio Area Foundation and the City of San Antonio’s Department of Human Services. They are offering much-needed aid to eligible families through its COVID-19 Emergency Childcare Assistance program.
The groups understand that while many parents can spend time indoors with their children, health care workers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis cannot.
“The goal of our partnership with the Area Foundation and the City’s Department of Human Services is to ensure that this emergency child care assistance will relieve some of the stress associated with the current health environment,” said Chris Martin, CEO of United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County.
The program offers emergency child-care assistance—up to three weeks—for those workers currently employed and required to physically report to a workplace or off-site location.
“Ensuring our children are in safe learning environments and thriving while parents providing critical services in our community are unable to stay at home remains a top priority for the City of San Antonio,” said Melody Woosley, human services director.
To qualify, their children must be between the ages of 6 weeks and 12 years old. A valid current pay stub and verification of Bexar County residency is also required, and various forms of income verification will be considered.
Those receiving child care funding through the City of San Antonio’s CARES program are not eligible for funding from the COVID-19 Emergency Childcare Fund.
Since launching the COVID-19 Response Fund last month, United Way and San Antonio Area Foundation have each committed $50,000 to help working families affected by the crisis.
“We wanted to come together to offer a respite to individuals and families with children who must report to work and who are facing a myriad of issues compounded by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Marjie French, CEO of the San Antonio Area Foundation. “All of this is possible because of trusted relationships with our nonprofit community, who will care for children as parents address a broader spectrum of needs.”
The YMCA of Greater San Antonio is also offering scholarships and are providing services for essential workers who need safe and reliable places for their children. Families can register at https://ymcasatx.org/empchildcare.
“Just like every crisis before, we come together in the name of our humanity. And just like it’s been for the last 144 years, the Y is here for good and to help you remain healthy in spirit, mind and body,” said Sandy Morander, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater San Antonio. “Showing up for our community is what we do best. We’re honored to do what we do best to help families across our region.”