Local nonprofit offers childcare to essential workers

Family Service remains open during crisis

Free child care for children of essential workers
Free child care for children of essential workers

SAN ANTONIO – With schools and many daycare centers closed, some essential workers have been left in a difficult position when it comes to childcare.

A local nonprofit, Family Service, has kept its doors open during the COVID-19 crisis and is offering childcare to those essential workers.

During the school year, Family Service runs a Head Start program that focuses on families with Pre-K children, but when schools and many businesses started to close, education director Sandy Garza said the nonprofit transitioned its services to meet the needs of essential workers.

“Our families, this is when they need us the most, the most vulnerable in our community,” Garza said. “And, so we are here to assist the daily struggles that they have. Childcare service is one of those struggles they encounter.”

Staff members are having to take precautions. They are all required to wear face masks and anyone entering the building has to get their temperature checked.

Parents and other non-team members are not allowed in the building. So, staff members bring the children in.

“We have divided up (the children) into small groups to try and keep the social distancing in the classroom,” Garza said. “We are continuously sanitizing our rooms at our facility and making sure everybody is on a schedule of washing hands and making sure we are following all the guidelines put forth by city officials and the CDC.”

The program is open for children ages 3 to 13, so the staff is also able to help students with their coursework.

“We know some distance learning is happening,” Garza said. “So, we are able to provide that support for the older children.”

Essential workers can call 210-299-2400 to reserve a childcare spot.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March. The first case confirmed in the U.S. was in mid-January and the first case confirmed in San Antonio was in mid-February.

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About the Authors:

Stephanie Serna is a weekday anchor on Good Morning San Antonio and GMSA at 9 a.m. She joined the KSAT 12 News team in November 2009 as a general assignments reporter.