Hoosiers in search of childcare during COVID-19

Indiana News

INDIANAPOLIS– The need for childcare in Indiana is growing as parents head back to work.

COVID-19 has shut down schools, and the status of summer camps is still in the balance.

Some Hoosier families are desperately asking where their kids should go now.

Lacey Walden and her husband are struggling to juggle work and their kids right now. She works days, and he works nights. They’re in search of proper child care.

“It’s been hard to find,” said Lacey. “I don’t even know where to start.”

Her children are usually in school right now and summer camp in the coming months.

“I would like to have summer camps open,” explained Lacey. “I understand what we are in right now, we don’t have a lot of answers, but the kids being stuck at home, no where to go.”

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration has yet to put out guidance on whether summer camps should open this year.

“That is certainly something we are working on,” said Nicole Norvell, the director of the FSSA Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning.

If you’re having trouble finding child care, there is a childcare finder on the state’s website. You can enter your information, and it will tell you what’s available nearby or on your way to work.

“We always want families to choose regulated care so that you know that you are putting your child in an environment that is safe,” said Norvell. “Our staff has background checks, and we have to follow health and safety guidelines.”

There have been some temporary pop-up childcare centers in response to COVID-19. The state couldn’t provide an exact number available but encourage people to call 800-299-1627 for more information.

“Programs have done a really nice job of making us aware that yes, they are there, and so when you call that number, if we know, we will let families know that those sites are there,” said Norvell.

FSSA recommends that same phone number for families who need financial assistance as well.

There are also links online designed to help pay for child care right now.

Head to EarlyEdConnect.FSSA.IN.gov to apply for CCDF (federal funding) for child care assistance.

Go to http://brighterfuturesindiana.org/local-help-for-finding-child-care-2/ and click the map to seek help from an expert in your area.

Click https://www.in.gov/fssa/5769.htm to fill out a form to apply to work in child care or assisting elderly people or people with disabilities.

State Sen. David Niezgodski said more needs to be done to help families. He isn’t opposed to lawmakers allocating money for this.

“I’m ready and able to go to work tomorrow,” said Niezgodski. “But the bottom line is on the governor’s part, it has to be clear, it has to be concise, he has to tell these families exactly what they are going to do.”

Walden would like more direction from the state too.

“What are they going to give us so that we can ensure that our kids can be taken care of at the same time as we are able to work?” said Walden.

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