Child Care for Essential Workers


We’re caring for the families who care for us during these unprecedented times, by providing a safe place for children to learn, grow, and thrive and peace of mind for their parents. With schools and child care centers closed, families need access to quality, affordable care. We’ve opened two of our child care locations at the West Essex YMCA’s Peanut Shell Early Childhood Learning Center and East Orange YMCA for families of first responders, healthcare workers, and other essential personnel. We joined with more than 1,100 YMCA child care centers across the U.S. to successfully provide Emergency Child Care for more than 40,000 kids nationwide. Our two locations provided more than 1,600 hours of child care between April and July to more than 80 kids and 50 families.


“I am beyond grateful for what the staff do at the Y. Same way I am considered a hero in this pandemic, YOU & everyone at the Y are one as well.  My kids love Peanut Shell & so do I."

Our Emergency Child Care Program

Now offering licensed emergency childcare for all essential workers at no cost.

This program is at no cost to families of essential workers. The State of New Jersey will confirm your status as an essential worker and approve you for emergency child care that is at no cost to you.

Y Story: A Sense of Normalcy Amid Uncertainty

For many families with parents who are essential workers during this pandemic, finding a sense of normalcy amid a flood of new and unpredictable challenges is comforting and reassuring.

For Anastasia Kunac and Brian Milhorn, the YMCA’s Emergency Child Care program has been providing their sons Malcolm and Andrej with a sense of normalcy in a new and strange reality for young children - as well as adults. Both boys already attended the West Essex YMCA’s Peanut Shell Early Learning Center in Livingston, which closed in mid-March in response to the coronavirus, and has now converted to providing Emergency Child Care for essential workers. The Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges also provides full-time Emergency Child Care at its East Orange branch.

How You Can Help

Your help is needed to make sure these essential needs are met. Making a gift today means the Y can continue to provide this free service to first responders, helping us all recover from this unprecedented time.


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