When parents are working, they need to have their children in safe, healthy and stimulating environments. As we have all heard, there is a nationwide shortage of licensed child care providers. Many closed during 2020 and a number of them have not reopened.
At Rainbows we have worked hard to keep our Early Care and Education Center for children two weeks to age 5 open throughout the pandemic. We had to close a classroom or two for a few days several times in 2020 but other than that our Center has remained open.
So how have we done that? We have stringently followed the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations. Temperatures are taken at the entry doors, masks are worn throughout the building, hand sanitizers are in abundance, and we ask families and staff to review the screening questionnaire about their current health condition and possible exposure to anyone with COVID every day. In addition, we try to keep the same staff in each classroom so there is limited chance for exposure throughout the facility. We are extremely appreciative of all the staff members and families who continue to follow these guidelines.
For our older children and youth with special needs, we have been providing in-home care. Again, by limiting the number of staff who go into each home, we are curtailing possible exposure from one family and staff member to others.
Our biggest challenge in serving these families is hiring enough staff to fulfill all the hours of care that these families need. We are experiencing the same challenge that you hear from other businesses, we cannot find enough staff. If you should know of someone who is interested in having a fulfilling and flexible job by serving youth with special needs, please direct them to Rainbows’ career page which can be found at RainbowsUnited.org.
Let’s continue to support each other as we navigate these rocky waters.
Deb Voth, President