In the eagerly anticipated joint guidance issued by the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS), the agencies provide additional information to help local communities meet the childcare and preschool needs of their families.
The guidance provides resources for families and public child development program providers that have been impacted by school and site closures in the wake of the COVID-19 health crisis. Specifically, the guidance encourages local educational agencies (LEAs) affected by closures to provide essential services to their local families through a number of options, or combinations thereof. The CDE and CHHS urge LEAs to:
- Consider allowing their school or campus sites to be used for pop-up childcare programs for working families, making sure to work with state and local government agencies when determining how to provide supervision to children during regular school hours and to ensure that pop-up facilities comply with state licensing standards and relevant health directives and guidelines
- Collaborating and partnering with local childcare resource and referral agencies to connect families to open programs in their areas
- Collaborate and partner with local planning councils and other childcare program entities to provide continuity of services for families with childcare needs
- Inform families of the 1-800-KIDS-793 hotline and the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, which maintains a website with a list of open programs obtained by the regional community care licensing office
Finally, the guidance notes that the COVID-19 emergency bill approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom contains a provision to hold harmless child development program contractors when their programs have been affected by the health pandemic, including waiving attendance and reporting requirements subject to further guidance from the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Below is a list of links to child development-related resources included in the guidance: