Collaborative to establish emergency system for child care for essential workers

Foundation is supporting the New Hampshire Emergency Child Care Collaborative with staffing and philanthropic resources, and will make grants to nonprofit child care centers to help ensure that essential workers have consistent and safe child care during the COVID-19 crisis.

The New Hampshire Emergency Child Care Collaborative, announced on Thursday by Governor Chris Sununu, will establish a system of emergency child care for New Hampshire’s most essential workers — including health care professionals and other hospital staff, first responders, pharmacy and grocery store workers, workers in mental health facilities and more — during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In coordination with the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the state has crafted an innovative public-private partnership that will ensure that essential workers have access to childcare in an environment that is safe and comports to CDC guidelines,” Sununu said.

The Foundation is supporting the collaborative with staffing and philanthropic resources; the Foundation will also make grants to nonprofit child care centers that are caring for children of essential workers.

The collaborative will be coordinated by New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Associate Commissioner Christine Tappan and Charitable Foundation Director of Early Childhood and Family Initiatives Christina Lachance. The collaborative includes child care professionals, advocates and business and philanthropic leaders who are working in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education.

“We recognize that child care professionals are a critical part of our emergency response to COVID-19,” Tappan said. She said that the State Department of Health and Human Services had committed $4 million from the federal Child Care Development Fund, “for additional costs associated with operationalizing an emergency child care system,” adding that it would “put resources directly into our child care programs to support staff, operations and parents.”

The Foundation is working with the governor’s office to identify specific actions state agencies should take and resources needed to ensure that the system of emergency child care is robust and effective.

“For health care professionals, pharmacists, grocery workers and others providing critical services to be able to continue to go to work, we need to make sure they have safe, consistent child care,” said Lachance.

The Foundation will provide grants to nonprofit child care centers around the state, including those currently serving (or that will serve) children of emergency and essential workers, those operating in or near hospitals or other health centers, and those expanding operations to include all shifts. The Foundation will also make grants to supporting organizations, and will invest in advocacy for increased federal resources for New Hampshire.

The collaborative will work to match parents who are essential workers with emergency child care programs around the state. Parents who are essential workers with questions about child care are encouraged to call Child Care Aware New Hampshire at 1-855-393-1731.