YMCA Child Care Provides Lifeline to Essential Workers

May 26, 2020

The mom on the phone was frantic. As a postal worker, she held an essential position and had to report to work, but she needed daily care for her child.

Fortunately, the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy was able to welcome the child into its Edison YMCA Learning Center. Although the family lives in South Brunswick, 20 miles away, the mom now brings her child to Edison and has one less anxious thought each day knowing her child is well-cared for at the YMCA.

The Edison YMCA Learning Center is one of 14 New Jersey YMCA locations providing quality licensed child care services for children ages 0-12 years whose parents or caregivers must work during this time of crisis.

“This is mission work,” said Rose Cushing, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy. “Child care is an economic driver, and we are committed to doing all we can to ensure essential workers can do their jobs and know their children are safe.”

Emergency child care is a service for the community and does not require YMCA membership to register a child. Also, the state of New Jersey has covered the fees for emergency child care in April and May.

The Center at Edison has a capacity for 50 children, and the ratio is two staff for eight children. The Center is open from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday. All staff and children are screened for temperature and symptoms before entry. Frequent hand washing and social distancing is practiced. Just two children sit at each table. Even the youngest children are learning how to talk and play at safe distances.

But the children still have fun. The Y provides a variety of age-appropriate programs, and children do play outside. Although playground equipment is off-limits, soccer and hula hoops are favorite activities. Children bring their meals, snacks and supplies to prevent cross-contamination.

Increased cleaning and sanitizing practices have the highest priority. The daily itinerary includes cleaning surfaces and handwashing--hourly or more as needed. This includes their arrivals, before and after meals, before and after going outside, using the bathrooms, blowing their noses or touching their faces. Nightly cleaning crews disinfect surfaces thoroughly.

“This experience will have a lasting impact on how we operate. We are learning new norms, rewriting policies and making significant changes,” Cushing said. “Going forward, post-Covid, what has always been superior child care will go up a few notches because of the lessons learned about helping our children and communities in a crisis.”