SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby announced on Friday that the city is offering free child care for first responders, health care workers and essential city employees.
“Because schools are closed, it begs the question, what are we going to do for our kids?” Steinberg said.
The program starts Monday with 350 slots available across eight different community centers for kids aged 5-12. The program is set up so groups larger than 10 do not intermingle, the city said.
“(Parents) will be required to present identification on Monday showing they fall into one of three categories: city of Sacramento first responders, front-line health care workers who work in the City of Sacramento, and essential city of Sacramento employees,” the city said in a news release.
Sacramento Fire Chief Gary Loesch said the program will be a great help to his firefighters.
“As this goes on and once we start having firefighters possibly contracting the virus and going down, we’re going to have to keep our forces closer together so we can provide services to all the members in the community,” he said.
Loesch said it’s likely some of his firefighters will get sick, but with mutual aid and all hands on deck, he doesn’t expect coverage to suffer.
“We will be there if we’re called, we could experience some shortages, we have flexibility, we have members that are even canceling their vacations to make sure that they’re here to fill our safety needs,” he said. “So, as of right now, we are in good shape.”
Centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with 10 kids per caregiver. The staff has been licensed and background checked, the city said, and normally staff the city’s 4th “R” and START programs.
For essential employees with children under 5, the YMCA has 60 paid slots available. An additional 50 subsidized slots for low-income workers.