Devon and Morgan Phillips ran toward the emergency.
At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Devon, a school nurse, reenlisted to work 12-hour shifts in the emergency department at the hospital in Colebrook. Morgan, a paramedic, was working 24-hour ambulance shifts in Berlin.
Devon and Morgan were able to care for their community when they were needed most because the child care center that their kids attend stayed open to care for their children.
The nonprofit Country Day School in Colebrook was part of an emergency child care collaborative created by the state Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with the Charitable Foundation and child care professionals. Thousands of children were cared for in more than 200 centers statewide. The Foundation provided grants and staff time to the effort, plus grants to individual nonprofits.
Devon would drop the kids at the center at 6:30 a.m.
“There is no way we could have continued to do our jobs without child care,” she said.
The centers provided families of essential workers with more than just physical care: People who worked in health care and other frontline jobs were under enormous stress and subject to significant trauma. Stable child care provided children and families with constancy, comfort and familiarity amid a frightening storm.
“My children love their day care providers like they love their aunts and uncles and grandparents,” Devon said. “That was also really important during that period of time.”
Quality child care is part of the critical infrastructure that makes our communities run. Just ask Devon and Morgan Phillips — and every sick person they cared for.