Collaborative for Children and Workforce Solutions, in partnership with the City of Houston and Harris County, has launched a resource dedicated to helping essential workers find quality child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The easy-to-use portal launched today at 8 a.m.

With lead support provided by Houston Endowment, the resource was created to ease the burden for Houston’s essential workers who are required to work, but have struggled to find child care during this difficult time. The website will connect essential workers with child care centers that have immediate openings and serve as a gateway where parents can apply for child care financial assistance through Workforce Solutions.  Essential workers are those identified by the State or local jurisdiction essential to continued critical infrastructure viability. The State of Texas list can be found here.

There are three assistance options for essential workers: Those who need child care now, those who need child care and financial assistance, and those who already have child care in the community but need financial assistance.

Essential workers can log onto the website at FindChildCareNow.org to complete an online registration form. Information provided on the form will enable Collaborative for Children’s early childhood specialists to research child care centers that best meets the workers’ needs and begin the process for Workforce Solutions to determine eligibility for financial assistance. Essential workers will receive up to three high-quality child care centers from which they can choose and notification of financial assistance eligibility within two business days.

“We as a community are indebted to essential workers who are making a huge sacrifice,” said Dr. Melanie Johnson, president and CEO of Collaborative for Children. “We are pleased to work with city and county officials to lighten the load of these valuable workers and use our expertise in early education to help them find child care at one of our Centers of Excellence. We believe it is imperative that we sustain quality early learning for Houston-area young children even during this crisis.”

“First responders, health-care workers, grocery store clerks and other essential workers show up for us every day. This is how we can show up for them, said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “They deserve seamless access to quality child care centers and financial aid, and I’m pleased to join the city in supporting this unique, interagency effort to make that happen.”

“In this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 public health emergency, I deeply appreciate City of Houston employees and all essential employees’ dedication to help their fellow Houstonians. We want your children to be taken care of while you are busy taking care of others,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

“The Gulf Coast Workforce Board is committed to supporting our everyday heroes, especially those essential workers needing financial assistance to ensure quality early education and care for their young children,” said Mark Guthrie, chair of the Gulf Coast Workforce Board. “Our Workforce Solutions staff will work hand-in-glove with all the partners to make sure parents can be signed up, determined eligible, and connected to a provider as quickly as possible.”

Collaborative for Children is a leader in early childhood education with a 33-year history of serving the 13-county Houston region. Since its inception, the agency has proudly helped families find high-quality child care and early education.

In 2000, the agency launched FindChildCareNow.org, an online database for all families. The database has more than 4,000 child care centers and family home centers listed. FindChildCareNow.org provides information such as hours of operations, teacher/student ratio and subsidy acceptance. It also reports quality information such as national accreditation and Texas Rising Star certification and ratings. More than 25,000 people use FindChildCareNow.org every year.

About Collaborative for Children
For more than 30 years, Collaborative for Children has meaningfully improved the quality of early childhood education and care for Houston-area children through those who are most influential in their lives. The agency works with child care providers and families to create high-quality learning environments and advocates for policies that benefit the early learning landscape in Texas. To learn more, visit www.collabforchildren.org.