YMCA, city of Memphis partnering to expand free childcare for essential workers

Updated: May. 28, 2020 at 5:02 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County is currently in phase two of its Back-to-Business plan. Phase three isn’t expect to start until the second week of June at the earliest.

City officials and the YMCA of Memphis said Thursday they realize childcare this summer may be a burden for many families, so they are offering a solution.

“As more businesses are opening back up and more people are going back to work, I know many of you are concerned about childcare,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

Strickland was joined by Jerry Martin Thursday, President and CEO of the YMCA of Memphis & Mid-South.

The two announced a new city partnership to expand free childcare for essential workers.

“Of course we’ll be observing social distancing, groups of one leader with nine kids,” said Martin. “We anticipate serving as many as three thousand, and our ability to do this is through state of Tennessee dollars, through essential childcare partnership dollars.”

The Y is already offering free childcare services for essential workers at 17 locations.

Some of those locations will transition as the city opens up eight community centers for care starting June 8, another ten on June 15, and another five on June 22. Spaces at each facility are limited because of social distancing guidelines.

Children and staff will be screened daily before they enter the facilities.

“We have put additional safety procedures under the guidance of the CDC and the health department,” said Martin. “That will include things like health screenings, lower ratios, smaller groups, additional cleaning staff assigned to each group, with increased cleaning.”

The Y has been active in the community during the pandemic not only offering childcare but also stepping in with Shelby County Schools and the city to provide meals for 400,000 children.

“They have been nothing short of a fantastic partner,” said Strickland.

You can find out information for registering for the childcare here, as well a detailed listing of the types of essential workers who qualify for the service.

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