New online tool lets essential employees find child-care

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BERLIN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 05: 11-month-old Lucy crawls in the playroom of the “Jule” facility for single parents as her mother nancy Kett, 19, (not pictured) looks on in Marzahn-Hellersdorf district on October 5, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. The Jule project helps single parents by helping them to find jobs, job training and housing, advice on child development and day care in Marzahn-Hellersdorf, a district in east Berlin with high levels of unemployment and social problems. Currently 14 single mothers and one single father are participaring at Jule, which opened its doors in the spring of 2012. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Friday morning, the Department of Human Services(DHS) announced a new tool on their website to help essential workers find child-care that has been granted a waiver to continue serving families those workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) will accept waivers for child care centers and group child care homes seeking to continue to operate during this time. Providers operating with a waiver should serve only the families of essential personnel such as health care providers on the front lines, emergency and first responders, home care workers serving vulnerable populations, grocery and foodservice employees until the governor’s closure order is lifted. 

“DHS is committed to maintaining options for these families, and that’s why we implemented a waiver process for child care providers to remain open and serving the children of healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential personnel,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller.

OCDEL is processing waivers based on the information provided in good faith. If a child-care provider reports that they need to remain open in order to serve the families of essential personnel they will grant the waiver request.

OCDEL says they have processed and approved more than 700 requests for waivers.

The public can access information about child care providers that have been granted waivers on the department’s website, which includes a map linked on the citizen resource page of the COVID-19 section.

DHS encourages essential workers to use this information as a resource to find child care options available in their community. 

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