Child Care Resources

Childcare resources for parents who cannot stay home from work

Many parents depend on school for childcare. Since social distancing is recommended or required in many areas, a large number of companies have found ways to make it possible for parents to work from home. This may not be the case for all, especially in cases where the employee is a healthcare professional or performs another essential job such as a grocery store clerk or stocker. This section covers childcare options for parents who absolutely cannot stay home with their children.

Emergency Childcare

Many cities are either already providing emergency childcare to families or are in the process of setting up systems and locations to do so. If parents need to find childcare in their area, they can:

We will be updating this section as more information becomes available.

Safe ways to find childcare and sitters

Social Distancing is recommended now and childcare should only be sought if absolutely necessary. One common concern among parents who need to have to leave for work is to find quality child care. Below are tips to make the search easier and a checklist to make sure it’s safe. 

  • Ask: is childcare needed? Childcare is recommended only if it’s absolutely necessary. By avoiding childcare, the risk of contagion to your family and those around you is reduced. Here are some ways to eliminate the need.

    • Ask your employer if you can work from home.

    • Find a temporary position where you can work remotely. For example VIP Kid allows you to work from home teaching English.


  • Decide: what  type of childcare do you need? If your work position is essential or if it’s absolutely necessary, Here are the options and when they apply:

    • Babysitter: If you have to go out for work a single day, an appointment that can’t be postponed or just a few hours, you are looking for a babysitter, a neighbor, or a friend to help out. Some social media sites allow you to connect with neighbors who want to volunteer, like

    • Nanny/Au Pair/Childcare Center: If you have to go out for work every day or for extended periods of time, you are looking for a nanny, an au-pair, or a childcare center nearby.


  • Checklist to make sure it’s safe

    • Childcare center: All states require childcare centers to be licensed. Being licensed does not ensure quality, but it is a useful criteria that sets the minimum health safety and training standards. Ask for the center’s license number and verify it here

    • Babysitter, neighbor, friend

      • Get recommendations. One of the best ways to find local quality child care is to ask fellow parents (friends, family, and colleagues) for their recommendations.

      • Check references. Making a couple of calls for references takes 10 minutes and provides information about previous experience as well as caring style. 

      • Help them to get trained or informed if necessary. Make sure whoever is watching a child or children knows the basics:

Childcare for emergency responders

For emergency workers (health care providers, first responders, grocery store workers, and others), finding childcare may be especially challenging because of two factors. First, unpredictable changes in the work schedule make it difficult to arrange last-minute assistance. Second, the risk of exposure to the coronavirus may rule out many options available to other parents, like using a local daycare or asking a neighbor to watch kids for several hours.

Some states and cities recognize this challenge and have issued executive orders directing schools to provide care to children of emergency responders (for example: the State of Minnesota). Essential workers can google “emergency childcare” and the name of their city to see if there are options supported by the government. 

Emergency responders may also decide to self-isolate from their children to minimize the chance of transmitting the virus. In some situations, that requires finding a caregiver with whom kids can stay for multiple weeks. Apart from extended family members, it’s worth checking if local volunteers or fellow parents have capacity to help. In the latter case, children can benefit both from staying with their friends and keeping on track with the local school program.

For short-term babysitting (from several hours to a couple of days), additional options include: 

  • Finding a local provider who is not afraid of potential exposure to the coronavirus. 

  • Teaming up with colleagues who live nearby.

  • Connecting with volunteers.

    • In many places, volunteers have created childcare programs for emergency responders. MN CovidSitters in Twin Cities/Metro Area, Meadowlands YMCA in New Jersey, and Family YMCA of Greater Augusta are just a few examples. A google search for local options will turn up similar groups in most areas.

    • Additionally, multiple neighborhood volunteer groups are created every day on Nextdoor, Facebook, and other social platforms. Even if groups mention specific causes (supporting older adults, disabled people, etc.), volunteers are often eager to assist anyone who needs them and will be happy to help people on the front line.

Taken from