The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County is creating a task force to connect essential workers with child care options amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Community Foundation President and CEO Tina Peterson said the names and contact info of individuals who fill out their application to work with the Monroe County Emergency Childcare Task Force to help care for children will be sent to local child care providers and essential businesses so workers can find help.
“We are really seeing some folks struggling to get their employees to work,” Peterson said. “They don’t have good options for their children.”
Parents and child care programs can use the information to hire people to help care for children. Once in contact with the potential employee, the parents or child care program are in charge of hiring, specifying hourly wages and paying the employee.
Applicants can specify which age group of children they prefer to work with and if they want part-time or full-time work. Peterson said some interviews were conducted this week, and interviews will continue as more people apply for positions.
Finding child care is difficult for essential workers because schools are closed and child care facilities are practicing social distancing, Peterson said. Through a survey, the foundation identified more than 230 children of essential workers that need care in Monroe County.
Peterson said the task force grew out of a conversation between the foundation’s partners in its Smart Start program, which prepares children ages 5 and under for school. She said the foundation began brainstorming after some workers were deemed essential and had to adapt to new working conditions.
Betsy Trotzke, Community Foundation marketing and communications director, said one of the first steps to ensuring essential workers’ children receive care is to identify available workers who are healthy.
Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington Executive Director Jeff Baldwin said he joined the task force because the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington has employees willing to provide care to children of essential workers.
“I clearly recognize a need to provide child care and out of school care within this community, in particular for care among children of essential workers,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin said it is the mission of the Boys and Girls Club to serve the community in this capacity. He said he wants to help get people back to work by providing good care for their children.