YMCA Offers Child Care for Essential Workers

By: Mollie Shauger | Tuesday, March 31, 2020 | Child Care

Happy children in child care. Credit: iStock

The Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges will offer full-day child care beginning on Thursday, April 2 to families of health care workers, first responders, and other essential personnel who need care for their children during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Y has temporarily opened two of its licensed child care facilities in East Orange and Livingston to provide care under the supervision of experienced, nurturing child care staff. Families do not need to be YMCA members to utilize this program.

Locations, ages, and operating hours include:

  • East Orange YMCA, 314 William St., East Orange
    • First date is Friday, April 3
    • Ages 3-13 
    • 6:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Peanut Shell Early Learning Childhood Center (part of the West Essex YMCA), 7 Regent St., #706, Livingston  
    • First date is Thursday, April 2
    • Ages 6 weeks to 13 years
    • 6:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday

Families can register for days as needed.  The State of New Jersey is currently covering the cost of child care for essential workers, regardless of income. For more information, visit the state's emergency child care website.

Children in care will enjoy activities in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), virtual learning assistance, physical fitness, and help with e-learning assignments. Families provide their own labeled meals and snacks, and children who have remote school assignments can bring their own electronic devices such as a tablet or laptop.

“We are thrilled to be able to provide this critical need for our community members who are on the front lines each day helping to fight this pandemic,” said Richard K. Gorab, President and CEO of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. “This essential program will reduce the stress on workers who are struggling to find quality and safe care for their children while serving the community.”

Safety of children and staff

The YMCA follows national, state, and local guidelines for ensuring the health and safety of children being cared for during this pandemic. Staff will undergo training to ensure they are practicing the most current cleaning and social distancing guidelines from public health authorities, including the CDC.

Families will need to complete required health forms upon registering, depending on their child’s age. The YMCA is taking extra safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including temperature checks of children upon entry by a nurse, monitoring children for symptoms of illness through the day, and enhanced daily cleaning and disinfection of surfaces. Children and staff are required to wash their hands when they arrive, and will wash hands frequently throughout the day. The Y will also use appropriate social distancing strategies to limit large groups, and parents will drop off children outside of the facility to limit adult entry. 

How to enroll your child

As of April 1, 2020, the State of New Jersey will determine who is eligible for emergency child care.  To register as an essential employee who needs child care, visit here. You will be contacted by one of the state’s Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies within two business days to discuss the next steps. Additional documents may be requested from the State.

For questions about East Orange’s program, contact Leah Greene at lgreene@metroymas.org. For questions about the West Essex Y program, contact Stephanie Anderson at sanderson@metroymcas.org


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