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Making a Back Up Plan for Childcare

53 Back Up Child Care 

Picture this scene: It’s early morning and a busy parent hurriedly prepares for work while also getting a child dressed, fed and ready to be dropped off at their daycare provider. But right before the mad dash out the front door, the daycare calls and tells the parent that, due to an unplanned emergency, the provider will be forced to closed for the day. Now what do you do?

The hectic lives of working parents and caregivers can hit the ultimate speed bump when daycare plans change at the last minute.  Whether the issues involve a daycare forced to close due to unforeseen circumstances (like dangerous weather) or if a child is simply too sick to attend school, parents and caregivers need to have a backup plan for child care in case of emergency situations. 

Here are some helpful suggestions to create your own childcare backup plans:

  1. Ask your provider: When a parent or guardian first chooses a daycare provider, they should ask the school administrators what they can offer in case of an emergency. The provider may have recommendations on back up child care already in place or they may have suggestions on qualified people who can help out. If the provider does have back-up recommendations, a parent or guardian should meet the back-up person ahead of time to make sure they are comfortable having this person(s) take care of their child.
  2. Drop-in child care: Many regular daycare providers provide drop-in child care for children who aren’t regularly enrolled. Many do not advertise the service, so a parent or guardian needs to do a little research to see if there are any drop-in providers in their area.
  3. Share care: There may be other families in the neighborhood who have a regular sitter or relative that provides home care for children. Parents and guardians can try and identify who these neighbors may be and if they are open to a share care situation in case an emergency arises.
  4. Reliable Fill-In: Most parents and guardians can designate a reliable fill-in person who can take of a child in case of an emergency. This back up person can include responsible relatives like grandparents or aunts/uncles who already know the child and their needs. Good neighbors that you know well (and trust) can also be a good back up person to help out. 
  5. Other resources: Places of worship, as well as, community colleges can also be a possible source of alternative daycare. Parents and guardians should make a list of possibilities and meet staff in person before an emergency situation arises. 
  6. Stay home: If other back up resources don’t pan out; a parent or guardian will sometimes be forced to stay at home with their child. Many employers offer options for working at home when an emergency arises. However, if an employer does not, a parent or guardian might need to be prepared to simply take an unpaid day off. Parents and guardians should make sure they understand their employer’s policy on such matters before the need arises.

By ABC Quality Team on July 7, 2020