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Most 'Pop-Up' Child Care Centers Were Already Watching Kids Before The Pandemic 

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California’s budget revision summary in May said, “to date, there are close to 500 temporary pop-up child care programs throughout California.

On March 16, California’s Department of Social Services rolled out waivers meant to “help ensure that child care services are available for working families in need while schools are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” The waivers allowed businesses to open “pop-up” child care centers and bypass the normal licensing process.

But as it turns out, few businesses took advantage of the program. Most of the programs labeled as “pop-up” child care were established in existing providers who sought waivers from the state to care for a few extra kids or watch children from different age groups.

California Department of Social Services Director Kim Johnson said at a May public meeting that 81% of the waivers went to existing providers.

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El Buen Pastor Child Day Care Center in south Los Angeles is typically licensed to care for up to 14 children, from toddlers to age six. When a parent asked if owner Margarita Gutierrez could watch her school-age children, she sought a waiver from the state to do so.

“I feel like we help [parents] a lot,” Gutierrez said. ”I think they’re happy to have a place where they can trust and I feel good about the services that we have provided.”

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