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Long Beach Will Connect Families To Free Child Care

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A child in Young Horizons's toddler class enjoys breakfast time. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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The City of Long Beach will offer about 90 families up to 40 hours of free in-home child care through the end of the year.

“One of the biggest fears we heard from folks about being able to go back or re-enter the workforce was because of the broader pandemic situation closures, child care wasn't available or accessible,” said Nick Schultz, executive director of Pacific Gateway, the area’s public workforce development agency.

The city will accept applications online and at 4811 Airport Plaza Drive, Suite 120 in Long Beach starting Monday, Nov. 2 at 9 a.m. through Wednesday Nov. 4 at 5 p.m. There are income limits for eligibility (see chart below):

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Staff will approve funding on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority for families who live in neighborhoods hard-hit by the coronavirus, essential workers, domestic violence survivors, foster children and kids with disabilities.

Long Beach initially designated $80,000 to pay for the child care of an estimated 90 families. It’s part of a larger $1 million pool of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act money designated for early childhood programs.

“I'm sure if we can document sufficient demand and there's available resources left [from the $1 million pool]," the city would tap those funds to expand the in-home child care effort, Schultz said.

The program builds on an existing online platform, CALFLEXI, that links hourly workers from a variety of fields with jobs. In March, Pacific Gateway partnered with the nonprofit Skills4Care to recruit child care workers who could provide in-home child care.

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Schultz said there are already about 85 child care workers who’ve gone through a background check and additional coronavirus-related safety training and plans to hire 100 more. The payment for providers depends on the number of children and starts at $15 an hour.

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