Child Care : Emergency Child Care Assistance Program

Program/Practice Name: Emergency Child Care Assistance Program

Agency Name: Quality Care for Children

Contact Information:

Pam Runkle
Executive Vice President of Early Care and Learning
CCR&R Services
Druid Pointe, 2751 Buford Hwy. NE
Atlanta, GA 30324
Phone: (404)479-4233
Fax: (404) 479-4166
pam.runkle@qualitycareforchildren.org

Sarah Linman
Family Resource Specialist
CCR&R Services
Druid Pointe, 2751 Buford Hwy. NE
Atlanta, GA 30324
Phone: (404) 479-4208
Fax: (404) 479-4166
sarah.linman@qualitycareforchildren.org

www.qualitycareforchildren.org

Type of Program/Practice: The Emergency Child Care Assistance Program provides families in crisis with temporary child care (when funding is available), thus supporting families through hardship.

Program/Practice Description: The Emergency Child Care Assistance Program resides within the larger referral organization, Quality Care for Children, and provides crisis intervention services to low- and middle-income families. Such crises may include incarceration, illness, new jobs without child care supports, domestic violence, and other issues. The program partners with local providers to offer up to 6 weeks of free child care, then works with families to develop mid-term and long-term solutions to their child care needs.

Innovations and Results: The program is the only one of its kind in the Atlanta area that offers this crisis intervention service to stave off the need for foster care. The program serves an average of 300 families every year who experience a variety of issues. Domestic violence represents the most frequent issue, and 75 percent of services are for low- to middle-income women. While 99 percent of customers work, these families maintain an income level that offers little or no security in times of crisis.

Funding: Quality Care for Children does not market the program because it can accept only a limited number of families due to budget constraints. Fifty percent of funds cover the salary of the emergency child care manager, and the other 50 percent goes directly toward paying partner-providers. The program obtains funds through grants from foundations, local county government, and the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta.

Important Partnerships: The Emergency Child Care Assistance Program partners with a pool of 15 providers who regularly provide child care and have openings to receive emergency customers. Child care providers must be legal within the State, have 10 or more hours of training, and undergo quarterly training for crisis intervention. The majority of providers are family child care providers who keep the children overnight if necessary.

Tips to Implementation: The program offers several tips for starting similar services in other locations. An organization should contact the State to help the agency understand that an emergency child care program removes the need for foster care. A new program might partner with local foundations, hospitals, or county organizations. The emergency child care manager also highlighted the need for a diverse set of funding sources to ensure an organization can sustain such a program. Additionally, a similar effort would best stem from an organization that has a good relationship with local child care providers who will respond to families in crisis.

Keys to Success: The Emergency Child Care Assistance Program cites two keys to its successful implementation:

  • The program functions best with a dedicated staff person who understands the dynamics of families in crisis, can find supports for those families, and has working knowledge of a child care business.
  • Throughout the program, staff and child care providers must maintain flexibility when working with families in crisis, as these families may not always accurately interpret messages from an organization. In these cases, the organization must redirect families and assist them in making appropriate choices.

Challenges: This organization faced the challenge of distinguishing the Emergency Child Care Assistance Program from other aspects of its referral process. In many cases, county workers erroneously referred a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipient or low-income client to the organization for help with child care subsidy assistance. While Quality Care for Children is a referral organization that assists customers with finding and selecting appropriate child care options, the Emergency Child Care Assistance Program is a limited program that works exclusively with families struggling with immediate crises. This is a one-time service for any customer, not a viable solution for families that need ongoing free or reduced-fee child care.

The following tools are associated with Emergency Child Care Assistance Program.  Please send us an email at upitoolkit@icfi.com for more information about these tools.

Frequently Asked Questions

Provides answers for various scenarios that may arise in the course of providing this service for families.

Emergency Child Care Assistance Provider Orientation

A synopsis of the program.

Emergency Child Care Assistance Program Provider Application

For providers interested in enrolling in the program.

Emergency Child Care Assistance Program Agreement

An agreement between the child care provider and the Emergency Child Care Assistance Program.