Weekly Digest | COVID-19 Response & Recovery for Child Care & Wellbeing

Bright Beginnings Advocacy, Community

COVID-19 Response & Recovery
for Child Care & Wellbeing

Looking for child care for essential workers?  Visit www.MontereyCountyChildCare.org or call (831) 757-0775

Emergency Response & Recovery Plan

As the early stages of the countywide COVID-19 precautions began, a coalition of early childhood champions is providing coordinated support and solutions for emergency care, education, and wellbeing of young children. The coalition developed the first-ever countywide emergency response and recovery plan for the early childhood development system. After close to two months of working behind the scenes, we’d like to share how we are supporting essential workers — early childhood educators themselves and the other essential workers seeking child care — while keeping the safety and wellbeing of our young children and their families at the heart of our work.

The goal of the emergency response and recovery plan is to ensure that young children of essential workers have quality, safe child care and education during the COVID-19 emergency measures — regardless of the caregiving setting — and are resilient beyond the emergency. The plan has four strategies:

  1. Triage the immediate health and safety needs of children and caregivers/educators in all child care and education settings.
  2. Connect essential workers with the child care they need.
  3. Support parents during the shelter-in-place order.
  4. Plan for the future needs of educators, children, and their families, post-COVID.

The work is organized around various workgroups: library of resources and information; capacity of child care and education (openings and closures); tools to find care for essential workers; caregiver and educator needs (supplies, information, training); outreach to essential industries to assess need and provide care; outreach and communications to the general community for care and other resources; mental health supports for caregivers and educators, and families; policy and advocacy; supplies procurement; and fundraising. 

See the full Response & Recovery Plan — and ever dynamic documentation of the planning and prioritizing process here.

Accomplishments to Date

  • Convened weekly information and coordination calls: Tuesdays, 11:00am via Zoom. To join, please request an invitation here. Meeting minutes from previous meetings are here.
  • Developed a countywide emergency response plan for early childhood development. Read the dynamic plan here.
  • Updated the central child care website with COVID-19 response information for child care for essential workers: www.montereycountychildcare.org
  • Created a toolkit for community partners to share information on child care for essential workers, which includes a bilingual flyer, a website badge, social media images, and guidelines on how to use these resources. Find the toolkit here.
  • Assessed the need for health and hygiene supplies for all operating early childhood caregivers and educators, and for the countywide need for young children of financially vulnerable families. Coordinated with First 5 California and local Resource & Referral to coordinate publicly funded emergency supply distribution.
  • Requested medical supplies from the local Office of Emergency services. Received 1000 masks, 2 cases of hand sanitizers, and a palette of locally donated produce. Also received paper goods from the County Office of Education. Distributed to approx. 40 child care sites.
  • Supported a community-based diaper distribution integrated with Food Bank distribution, sponsored by First 5 Monterey County.
  • Surveyed hospitals for child care needs. Currently, needs are being met internally, in both formal and informal settings. Established relationships if/when need for additional child care solutions arise.
  • Provided child care Resource & Referral information to the Agriculture Commission to be included in weekly advisories. Developed general key messages for employers to support essential employees with young children, and planning targeted outreach.
  • Created a central library for information related to emergency child care and health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find the library here
  • Coordinated with community-based organizations for outreach to ensure essential workers know how to access care.
  • Coordinated with school-based early child care to assess the need to re-open and support those that are open, in conjunction with their ongoing educational supports for TK-12.
  • Supported the launch of a local fundraising campaign with United Way to fund the emerging needs of child caregivers and educators. 
  • Supported advocacy for increased emergency supports for child caregivers and educators, as well as other family-friendly supports. 
    • Assemblymember Rivas of the 30th submitted a letter of support for health and hygiene supplies for ECE to the state OES.
    • First 5 Monterey County and other partners submitted letters of support for early learning and TK-12 education in the state Assembly budgeting process.
  • Reached out to all caregivers and educators to assess needs and share information.
  • Supported Child Care Planning Council and Resource & Referral to implement CA Department of Education Mandates, e.g., Management Bulletin 20-07 that outlines COVID-19 Guidance for state-funded early learning programs.
  • And much more – the details required to make all of this happen are far too many to list.

Rolling Out

  • Coordinate broad supplies procurement and distribution with state emergency funds via MAOF Resource & Referral and contributions from First 5 California (est. 1-2 weeks out). F5CA contributions: 1720 diapers, 1994 wipes and 1540 liquid soap, plus other cleaning supplies and books.
  • Scale-up Health and Safety training for all child caregivers and educators, in partnership with Quality Matters, First 5 Monterey County, Child Care Planning Council, Resource and Referral, Maternal Mental Health Task Force, and others. Sharing out the Center for Disease Control’s Guidance for Child Care Programs as a common, multi-lingual reference.
  • Monitor efforts through a Child Care Response Dashboard (in development), tracking child care openings, spending of state emergency child care vouchers, needs and referrals, and supplies distribution.
  • Expand mental health supports for child care providers in: centers; family child care and Family Friend and Neighbor settings.  
  • Proactively support centers and family child care homes that are considering reopening, and think ahead to the school year 2020-2021.
  • Increase communitywide outreach to distribute resources and information. 

It Takes a Coalition 

The emergency response providing coordinated solutions for child care and education is led by a coalition of early childhood champions, united under the Bright Beginnings Strategic Framework to better support all young children and their families, to prepare every child for life and school. This coalition is ever-growing:

4th Monterey County Supervisorial District
30th California Assembly District
Building Healthy Communities
Carmel Unified School District
Child Care Planning Council
Child Development Centers and Continuing Development Incorporated
Children’s Council
Early Development Services
First 5 Monterey County
Go Kids, Inc.
Health Department
MAOF Resource & Referral & Alternative Payment Program
Monterey Peninsula Unified School District
Natividad Medical Center
North Monterey County Unified School District
Office of Education – Early Learning Program
Office of Education – Educational Services
Public Health Office
Quality Matters
Salinas City Elementary School District
Social Services – Child Abuse Prevention Council
United Farmworkers Foundation
United Way of Monterey County

A special thanks to the coordinating team and major funders: Bright Beginnings Backbone, Child Care Planning Council, First 5 Monterey County, MAOF Resource & Referral, Quality Matters, and the United Way of Monterey County.

For more information, please contact sonja@brightbeginningsmc.org.