Help Arrives for Essential Workers in Search of Child Care

If you are one of those considered in an essential job still requiring you to head to work everyday but have a battle finding child care, help is on the horizon.

Executive Order 2020-16 calls upon Michigan’s Intermediate School Districts to coordinate community efforts to support childcare needs for essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Berrien RESA, Lewis Cass ISD and Van Buren ISD are all answering the call and have developed a plan in collaboration with Southwest Child Care Resources and United Way of Southwest Michigan, and in  special partnership with the YMCA of Michiana.

The plan asks essential workers (as defined in Executive Order 2020-16) to find help by calling the statewide assistance number 2-1-1 or by visiting www.helpmegrow-mi.org. Once a worker’s information has been collected, a local representative will contact the essential worker within 24-48 hours to assist in finding an open child care facility with capacity to address child care needs. Here’s a direct link to that website: http://www.helpmegrow-mi.org

Essential workers include health care, home health and direct care workers, emergency medical service providers, first responders, law enforcement personnel, sanitation workers, child care workers, personnel providing correctional services and other infrastructure support, postal workers, public health employees, key government employees and court personnel.

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Child care locations and offerings may be different depending on the needs in each community. Open child care sites must follow protocols that will protect public health and follow regulatory guidelines put in place by the State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Public health protocols for these programs include, but are not limited to, small class sizes with the same participants and staff in each room, sick rooms/containment spaces for students or personnel that become sick, and intensified, deep cleaning every day to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19.