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Open House Planned Wednesday to Connect Families and Child Care Providers

Alexandria is hosting an online open house this Wednesday to try to connect local families with an affordable range of child care options.

A virtual open house is scheduled for August 19 from 7-8:30 p.m. on Zoom. Participants can register online to receive a link to the Zoom call.

“The Open House on August 18 will virtually showcase just a few of the child care options in the City,” said Robin Crawley, the city employee running the program. “Programs across the City may offer both in-person and virtual options. While programs have already established their plans for in-person programming… virtual options are being considered as we continue to hear the voices of parents and their preferences.”

Crawley said families can identify their child care needs in an online survey to prioritize care based on location, time of day, age of children and preferred structure of care.

“As COVID-19 requires additional demands on our workforce to support our health care system and essential services, child care will be a vital part of Alexandria’s response,” the city said on its website. “The Department of Community and Human Services is partnering in a local Emergency Child Care Collaborative (ECCC) to assess needs and establish a system of emergency child care accordingly.”

The collaboration is aimed at finding child care for those who have no other options, like keeping family with a relative or other safe arrangements.

“There are public and private options for child care in the City,” Crawley said. “Out of pocket costs for families fall along a continuum. For instance, there is no out of pocket costs for publicly funded child care programs like the City of Alexandria Head Start Program, The Campagna Center Early Head Start Program and  ACPS Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) Program. Some programs like Child and Family Network Centers charge only a registration fee or family co-payment based on their established mission. Creative Play School along with other programs participate in a mixed delivery approach to child care costs which helps them to leverage local, state, and family funds in order to make child care affordable.”

Crawley said the goal was to work with various child care providers to create options affordable to various income brackets.

“Through a combination of for profit and non-profit programs, the City of Alexandria is committed to making equitable, affordable and quality child care options accessible for all families regardless of income or zip code,” Crawley said.

Alexandria City Public Schools is currently also trying to put together plans to offer child care during school hours.

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