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April 16, 2020

toddle boy with curly hair reaches for block at day careMany parents and guardians of children ages 0-12 need to work outside the home during California’s COVID-19 Stay Home Order because they provide essential servicesYet schools and many child care centers are closed.

Here is guidance about how to think about and find the care you need to work during the coronavirus crisis. These recommendations are made in light of the directive to minimize the exposure you and your family have to other people. 

  1. If members of your household can care for your children at home, that is the best way to protect your family’s health and help us slow down the pace of the epidemic. This may involve staggering shifts if there are two essential-worker parents/guardians in the same household.

  2. If household member care is not possible, try to arrange for a single, known person to care for your children, either in your house or theirs. In this situation, check in each day about the health of your family and your caregiver’s family. If any member of either household is sick (coughing, fever, body aches, or cannot smell/taste like normal), you should cancel the arrangement until everyone is symptom-free. For help to find a person who can care for your kids in your home, try services like and, which are clearinghouses for caregivers who have passed background checks.

  3. Two families with children could trade days of child care. This is another way of limiting exposure to just two households. In a child care trade, families should use the same caution of doing a health check each morning. Here are two tools that help you set a child care sharing schedule: and

  4. If none of the above options is available, there are many child care providers in San Diego County that are open and have space for new children. All child care providers are following guidance and rules for health and safety during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure that children, providers and families are as safe as possible.

    These new rules include limited group size and limited interaction among children in different classrooms, as well as escalated cleaning procedures. The same daily health checks described in #2 above are in place for child care providers as well. For help finding child care that works for you and your family, please call the YMCA child care line:  (800) 481-2151.

  5. Please call 2-1-1 if you and your family need other supports during this crisis. Help is available!

  6. If you need help paying for child care, you can request a one-time payment of $575 from the COVID-19 Children’s Fund. Essential worker child care vouchers will be available soon, possibly before the end of April. Check back here for updates.

See more COVID-19 updates for workers here.

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