• YMCA to offer emergency childcare for essential personnel

    The Watertown Family YMCA in collaboration with Jefferson County, local school district leaders and healthcare providers will open restricted Emergency Childcare Sites in Jefferson County, including in the General Brown Central School District at Brownville-Glen Park Elementary School. 

    “Childcare is one of the major concerns of the community as we move through this critical stage battling COVID-19. It is necessary to keep workers in the health and public safety sectors available to meet the needs of the residents of our community,” said Scott Gray, Chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators. “I commend the YMCA, CAPC, BOCES and our public-school system for their creative thinking outside the boundaries of traditional delivery service models to meet the demand for services.” 

    The YMCA will provide emergency childcare for school-age children at 10 sites and at the YMCA Daycare in Watertown for daycare-aged children. Only children of workers in healthcare, emergency services and other essential personnel are eligible to participate in the emergency childcare. 

    “The YMCA is here to serve the community wherever we are needed and stand ready to find ways to assist,” said Denise Young, CEO of the Watertown Family YMCA. “Our extraordinary workforce is uniquely prepared to care for children and families during challenging times.” 

    Space is limited at the emergency sites as guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York State Office of Children and Family Services and public health officials for screening, distancing and disinfecting for childcare settings will be followed. 

    Registration is on a need-prioritized, first-come, first-served basis. To register, contact the YMCA at 315-755-2005 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

    “This innovative partnership between the county, the YMCA and area public schools is a testament to the North Country commitment to collaboration, practicality and sharing of resources. Together, we will work tirelessly to meet the needs of our children, our families, and our communities,” said Steve Todd, district superintendent of the Jefferson-Lewis-HamiltonHerkimer-Oneida BOCES.

    General Brown Superintendent Barbara Case said the district will work with the YMCA to make the Brownville-Glen Park space welcoming and inviting for children so they look forward to being at the site while their parents/guardians are at work. 

    “We recognize that with school not in session, our parents and guardians who are first responders or healthcare workers may find themselves unable to go to work due to a lack of childcare,” Case said. “We are appreciative of the county and YMCA working with us to be part of the solution and give those families peace of mind that their children will be well-cared for while they go to work and tend to those in our community who need medical assistance during this public health crisis.” 

    OCFS survey helps connect parents to childcare

    The staff at the state Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) are trying their best to support families in finding high-quality childcare. Parents or caregivers who need childcare are asked to complete an OCFS parent need for child care survey.

    Based on information you provide about your job, employer, number of children and financial need, OCFS may be able to help you find the childcare program you need.

    In addition, the OCFS website has several childcare resources available.