Free child care available to front-line COVID-19 workers




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Low-income parents who work in health care, public health and essential government services that are still operating amid the COVID-19 pandemic can qualify for free child care under a new program that Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Friday.

Parents who work in essential services whose household income is less than $65,000 per year are eligible for scholarships for free child care under the new Arizona Enrichment Centers program. The scholarships are funded by the state’s child care and development fund, which is overseen by the Department of Economic Security, according to Ducey spokesman Patrick Ptak. 

The enrichment centers, which are licensed child care facilities, serve children under 13 years of age. The program also provides a list of unlicensed facilities that will care for kids 13 and older.

People who don’t meet the income requirement for the program can still find childcare through the Arizona Enrichment Centers, though they’ll have to pay the same market rate as other customers. 

“Through support including child care assistance and financial resources, we can help alleviate some of the stress and concerns that families serving on the frontlines are facing,” Ducey said in a press statement. 

The program is open to parents who work in public health, such as employees at hospitals, clinics, dental offices and pharmacies, among numerous others, and essential government jobs, including first responders, law enforcement, people who work in correctional facilities and those who work at recreational facilities. A list of eligible jobs is on the program’s website.

The program is a partnership between the Arizona Department of Education, Department of Health Services, Department of Administration, Department of Economic Security, First Things First and the Government Transformation Office, as well as Arizona Child Care Resource and Referral, a nonprofit organization that provides referrals to child care facilities.

How you can tell if you might be ill

Symptoms of COVID-19 resemble that of the flu. So, if you’re experiencing coughing, fever, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath, you should consider getting checked out. Call your primary care physician or visit an urgent care center or emergency room — but call the health care provider before you go so they can be prepared for your arrival. The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center is taking COVID-19 calls: 1-844-542-8201

How COVID-19 spreads

  • Through the air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it

How to prevent spreading COVID-19

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Don’t use your hands.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean surfaces frequently, including counter tops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
  • Contain: If you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better. Once symptoms are gone experts recommend staying home an additional 72 hours.