Action enables first responders, medical personnel to continue reporting to work

LOS ANGELES (April 9, 2020) – The Los Angeles County Early Childhood Education COVID-19 Response Team today announced the immediate availability of early childhood education and child-care services for essential first responders and health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team is a collaborative among the Los Angeles County Office of Education, County Department of Public Health–Office for the Advancement of Early Care and Education, First 5 LA, Los Angeles Unified School District, Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles, Greater Los Angeles Education Foundation, Child360, the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Center for Strategic Partnerships and county resource and referral agencies.

Team members are offering support to essential workers by connecting them to available child-care options throughout the county. Child-care sites and locations continue to be identified to serve more families in need.

The team also is working with additional partners, including Baby2Baby and various food banks, to secure diapers and food for providers and families. To date, more than 300,000 diapers have been secured.

“I am committed to helping families who are struggling at this critical moment to find diapers and baby formula for their babies and toddlers,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, whose First District office played an instrumental role in securing this donation. “Families need to stay in their homes as we continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. I am proud to partner with Baby2Baby and with the Los Angeles County Office of Education to ensure parents gain access to essential items that will keep their children safe and healthy.”

The Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) administers the state’s largest Head Start grantee program. LACOE’s philanthropic arm, the Greater LA Education Foundation, is working to secure donations of supplies and resources.

“I’m delighted that our Head Start-Early Learning program and foundation can bring their leadership and expertise to help coordinate this vital effort,” said LACOE Superintendent Debra Duardo. “I am truly heartened by the outpouring of compassion and generosity from public, private and nonprofit partners who are stepping up during this national health emergency. The power of partnership has perhaps never been more tangible.”

First 5 LA is an independent county agency tasked by voters to advocate for the needs of children prenatal to age 5 and families.

“While schools are closed, some parents are working from home and caring for their children as they shelter in place. But, for first responders, that isn’t an option. Add in the stress of protecting and supporting our communities in the time of a global pandemic, we knew we had to act collaboratively and decisively to help address this need,” said First 5 LA Executive Director Kim Belshé.

“That’s why we are proud to partner with LA County’s child care leaders to support parents who are working on the front lines of our County’s response to COVID-19 by providing immediate access to critical child care and early learning services,” she added.

“It is inspiring to have so many members of the early care and education community joining together in a united response to provide child care during this challenging time. Early care and education is a critical resource for people working to end the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.Ed., director, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

First responders and medical personnel in need of early childhood and child-care services may call the toll-free number 888-92CHILD (922-4453) set up by the Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles. The website www.lacoe.edu/childcare also was developed to connect families to their local Child Care Resource and Referral agency and provide additional resources for children and families.

The Greater LA Education Foundation established the COVID-19 Education Response Fund to expand and steward financial and other resources that are becoming available to meet the most urgent needs and alleviate the difficulties facing county schools and communities. Contributions to the fund can be made at www.calfund.org/greaterla.

All facilities will follow the Guidance for Early Childhood Education Providers issued by the LA County Department of Public Health on March 28.

Contacts:

Margo Minecki, PIO, LA County Office of Education, 562-500-5184

Marlene Fitzsimmons, Communications Manager, First 5 LA, 213-482-7807

Carl A. Kemp, Chief Communications Officer, LA County Department of Public Health, 213-288-8740 Office, 323-365-7260 Mobile




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