COVID-19 Response for Child Care in Monterey County

Emergency Response Plan

As part of the Bright Beginnings Early Childhood Development Initiative—a coalition of early childhood champions providing coordinated support and solutions for emergency care and education—we developed the first countywide emergency response plan for the early childhood development system.  Essential workers looking for child care, visit www.MontereyCountyChildCare.org or call (831) 757-0775.
 
The goal of this initiative is to ensure that children of essential workers have quality, safe child care and education during the COVID-19 emergency measures. The plan has four strategies:

  1. Triage the immediate health and safety needs of children and caregivers/educators in all child care and education settings
  2. Connect essential workers with the child care they need
  3. Support parents during the Shelter-in-Place order
  4. Plan for the post-COVID needs of educators, children, and their families.

Accomplishments

  • Created a countywide emergency response plan for early childhood development.
  • Updated central child care website with COVID-19 response information for child care for essential workers.
  • Created a toolkit for community partners to share information on child care for essential workers, which includes a bilingual flyer, a website badge, social media images, and guidelines on how to use these resources.
  • Requested personal protective equipment and food from local Office of Emergency services. Received 1,000 masks, 2 cases of hand sanitizers, toilet paper and paper towels, and a palette of locally donated produce for distribution to nearly 40 child care centers.
  • Supported a community-based diaper distribution, integrated with Monterey County Food Bank and sponsored by First 5 Monterey County.
  • Surveyed hospitals for child care needs of essential workers. Currently, needs are being met internally, in both formal and informal settings. Established relationships if/when the need for additional child care solutions arise.
  • Provided child care resource & referral information to Agriculture Commission to include in weekly advisories. Developed key messages for all employers to support essential employees with young children. 
  • Created a central library of information related to child care.
  • Coordinating with school-based early child care centers to assess the need to re-open and support those that are in operation. 
  • Outreach to all caregivers and educators to assess needs and share information.
  • Support Child Care Planning Council and Resource & Referral to implement CA Department of Education mandates, e.g., Management Bulletin 20-07 that outlines COVID-19 guidance for state-funded early learning programs.

Implementation

  • Scale-up Health and Safety Training for all child caregivers and educators, in partnership with Quality Matters, First 5 Monterey County, Child Care Planning Council, Resource and Referral, Maternal Mental Health Task Force, and others.
  • Monitor efforts through a Child Care Response Dashboard, tracking child care openings, spending of state emergency child care vouchers, needs and referrals, and supplies distribution.
  • Proactively support centers and family child care homes that are considering to re-open, and think ahead to school year 2020-2021.
  • Increase communitywide outreach to distribute resources and information.

It Takes a Coalition

The emergency response providing coordinated solutions for child care and education has been led by a coalition of early childhood champions that are a part of the Bright Beginnings Early Childhood Development Initiative. This coalition is an ever-growing list of partners:

30th California Assembly District
4th Monterey County Supervisorial District
Building Healthy Communities
CAPSLO
Carmel Unified School District
Child Care Planning Council
Child Development Centers and Continuing Development Incorporated
Children’s Council
Early Development Services
First 5 Monterey County
Go Kids, Inc.
Health Department
MAOF Resource & Referral
Monterey Peninsula Unified School District
Natividad Medical Center
North Monterey County Unified School District
Office of Education - Early Learning Program
Office of Education – Educational Services
Public Health Office
Quality Matters
Salinas City Elementary School District
Social Services - Child Abuse Prevention Council
United Farmworkers Foundation
United Way Monterey County
YMCA

For more information or to join the coalition’s weekly information and coordination calls, please contact sonja@brightbeginningsmc.org.