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How Employers Can Help their Employees with Child Care Options

Linda Martini, Executive Director, Child Care Council of Orange County Inc

. Employers! Are your employees struggling with child care issues? If your employees are seeking child care, Child Care Council of Orange County Inc. can help!

We are a resource and referral agency that provides free referrals to regulated child care in our county. Besides calling us at (845)294-4012, employees can do a search for child care on our website, www.childcarecounciloc.org. Other services we provide: • Council staff will meet individually with your employees at your work site to provide free referrals and answer any questions they have regarding their child care situation.

• Council can also offer a fee-based enhanced referral. This type of referral is similar to our free referrals, however, we will take the extra steps of: 1. Calling the providers to check for immediate and expected availability; 2. Making verbal introductions on behalf of the parent; 3. Mailing or emailing profiles of potential providers to the parents All of the referrals we give are referrals only, not recommendations

. Child Care Council does not recommend or endorse any particular individual or program. All programs on our referral list are registered or licensed with the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS).

The Council can provide fee-based seminars that will help support and give your employees the information they need to make their child care situation successful. Each seminar is one hour long and is held at the work-site or as arranged. Topics include: Harmonizing Family/Child Care/Work How To Be a Good Consumer of Child Care How To Recognize Quality Child Care Parent-Provider Communication Skills

If your employees are struggling with paying for child care, have them contact Orange County Dept. of Social Services (DSS) to determine if they are eligible for subsidy assistance. Currently, our county is paying at 175% of poverty. Have employees call DSS at the subsidy line (845)615-5452 to see if they qualify.

We understand child care can be expensive. There are many employer options to ease the child care cost burden for working parents: • Provide Flexible Spending and Dependent Care Assistance Accounts - Set up as an additional benefit, these accounts help to ease the employees’ fees for child care and medical/dental costs that are not covered by insurance. Not only do these accounts help promote your employees’ peace of mind, but they can also help you and your employees save on taxes. • Provide Emergency Child Care – Child Care Council of Orange County Inc. can help you offer your employees child care options for emergencies – school/program snow closings; car trouble; their provider only accepts a well child; their provider closes due to illness or a death in the family, no power, or another type of emergency. Using regulated child care programs, the employer typically reserves a number of spots where employees can drop off their child(ren) when their own child care is closed. Companies report that the cost of providing emergency care is low and the payback high, with increased employee retention and productivity. • Provide On-Site Child Care or a Program - Employers may create a licensed child care program at or near the workplace. An employer-sponsored program may be as a division of the parent company, a subsidiary corporation, or an independent corporation. On-site child care offers your employees accessible care resulting in decreased stress and increased morale. It is an expensive option; however, it is a highly visible public relations tool.

There are pockets in Orange County where there is a definite need for additional regulated child care programs. If you know of someone interested in this, have them call us at (845)294-4012. We also are developing a parent advocacy group. This group will work to support us in our advocacy and legislative asks to improve funding and quality initiatives in child care. If you know of persons interested in joining this group, have them contact us as well. Employers can improve morale, productivity, and retention by helping their employees with supportive policies and services. Child Care Council of Orange County Inc. stands ready to support you and your employees with our resource and referral child care services. Contact us at (845)294-4012 or Linda@childcarecounciloc.org