When the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national health crisis in March, scores of businesses shut their doors. Among those were licensed childcare facilities that enabled parents to head to the office each day or otherwise have someone care for their children while they work.
Now that much of the workforce is returning, childcare remains a major concern for both married and divorced couples. With the pandemic still ongoing, here is what you need to know about childcare and COVID-19.
Finding the Right Fit for Your Family
Sending your young child to a child care provider during these unprecedented times may not be the best choice for your family. Some child care facilities have faced challenges getting essential supplies, and others are at risk of closing.
Since children can carry and spread COVID-19 to each other and adults, you’ll need to consider the risks and decide what is best for you. Discuss your concerns and goals with your child’s other parent as you narrow down the best solutions for your family.
The Latest Child Resources and Recommendations
The events related to COVID-19 have been changing rapidly. Your school or child care facility might be open one day and then closed the next due to exposure or an outbreak. The Washington State Department of Health has created a page full of Parent and Caretaker Resources and Recommendations.
The Department’s resource page tells families how to practice safe behavior and good hygiene to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection. There is also useful information about coping with the stress caused by a pandemic and specific reactions and guidelines for children in various age groups.
Choosing a Child Care Provider in Washington State
When you choose a childcare provider in Washington State, the Department of Health recommends that families adhere to practices that keep the risk of spreading COVID-19 as low as possible. Specifically, families should keep children home whenever possible, and children should only attend programs in their local area.
Parents should look for child care facilities that follow these basic principles and guidelines:
- Keeping any exposed or symptomatic people out of child care
- Keeping children in small groups
- Enforcing social distancing
- Using protective equipment
- Isolating sick or exposed people
- Utilizing outdoor spaces
- Requiring frequent hand hygiene
- Improving disinfection procedures and indoor ventilation systems
Child Care Financial Assistance
When child care facilities and schools began closing in early 2020, Washington State recommended that families work with their employers, use paid leave, or rely on natural support systems to get child care.
The only financial assistance available is through the Family, Friends, & Neighbor (FFN) program with DCYF. There is also an independent organization in Washington, called Child Care Aware (CCA), that can help parents find affordable child care.
Even though there are options for childcare and some financial assistance available, couples may not agree on what is best for their children. If you need assistance resolving a family law matter, we can help.
The experienced family law attorneys at AB Law invite you for a free consultation to discuss your situation and learn about your options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.