Tuesday, August 9, 2022

This new child care initiative might help parents return to work. Here’s how

(WYDaily/Courtesy of Unsplash)

Nearly a month has passed since virtual learning has begun for Williamsburg James-City County Public Schools and the York County School Division.

When both divisions announced their plans to start the school year virtually, the most common grievance that came up was what working parents were supposed to do while their children were learning from home.

EVMS Minus 9 to 5 and Smart Beginnings Virginia Peninsula conducted a recent Hampton Roads Community Survey, and the data revealed 40% of full-time working parents needed child care, whether school-based or at a professional center, while schools operated virtually, according to a news release.

While there are plenty of child care providers in the area, the cost can be an unwelcomed, additional expense.

But hey, a solution has arrived for both issues.

It’s called CASSAC, or Care and Supervision for School-Age Children.

The program is led by United Way of the Virginia Peninsula and Smart Beginnings Virginia Peninsula in partnership with local child care providers, philanthropies, business and government bodies in all of the Peninsula area, according to a news release.

Nearly 500 slots for school-age children opened for availability.

CASSAC is also a regional collaborative funded by the CARES Act.

Eight jurisdictions in the Greater Peninsula region contributed portions of their CARES funds to support CASSAC, including James City County, Williamsburg and York County.

Local child care providers will also benefit from the program. Participating child care providers will receive grant-vouchers. These vouchers will pay up to 140% of the base tuition for school-age children who are enrolled in virtual learning.

The funds can be used to pay for PPE and other permitted expenses related to expanding operating capacity for school-age children.

Child care providers can apply here to participate in the program.

Parents can call 757-229-2222 to get more information about how to sign up for CASSAC slots.

Tuition must be paid for up to eight weeks. Some restrictions apply, according to the news release.

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