When news of the highly contagious COVID-19 surfaced in California, Child Care Resource Center’s (CCRC) leadership knew that health and safety precautions had to be taken to protect staff while maintaining critical services to families and child care providers in our community. With a detailed and mindful plan, new protocols were implemented immediately.
“We knew we had to keep staff safe, but as an essential business we had to make sure that we could continue to take care of all the children, families and child care providers who rely on us. I’m proud to say that we accomplished both goals,” Dr. Michael Olenick, CCRC President and CEO, expressed.
Many organizations across the state were hit hard financially by the pandemic, forcing a large number of employers to lay off staff and reduce services. CCRC made the necessary adjustments to ensure the agency’s 1,000 employees kept working. And, as a result, there was no lapse in service to the 50,000 children, families and providers we support across Northern Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties.
To limit the spread of the virus, the majority of CCRC staff are now working remotely. Although many employees already had mobile work equipment, CCRC distributed an additional 350 laptop computers to ensure that all staff have the tools necessary to be successful.
“When California went into lockdown, I was worried about my own job security, but more importantly, I was worried about the families and providers we serve,” CCRC Multi-media Content Producer Taylor Johnson said. “I was relieved that the leadership team was able to migrate the majority of staff into a work-at-home environment. The transition was painless, and the agency is so flexible with my new accommodations.”
Despite the distance, our commitment to provide a positive work environment hasn’t wavered. Regularly scheduled Zoom meetings help staff connect with one another and stay on track with department and agency goals. Dr. Michael Olenick, CCRC President and CEO, frequently releases videos updating staff on changes related to the pandemic. A company-wide survey revealed nearly 90 percent of employees feel confident in their ability to get work done in a remote working environment.
“We are led with accurate and timely information, are guided through policies that may rapidly change, and offered avenues to manage our work-life balance and the way we cope during COVID-19,” CCRC Creative Services Manager Felix Bada said.
Throughout this transition to remote work, CCRC has continued advocating for families and child care providers at the state and national level. We support those in need through weekly drive through supply distributions where we’ve given out over 300,000 diapers and wipes, 3,000 school supplies, 7,700 bags of food, and 184,000 face coverings.
The agency has also adjusted its programming to include regular Zoom interactions to mentor and coach child care providers through online trainings, our home visiting program continued through online sessions, and we developed a YouTube series of fun and educational videos exploring subjects like yoga, cooking, story time, and science. COVID-19 updates and important resources are shared with parents and the community via the agency’s website, social media, and digital newsletters.
In addition to the transition to remote work across the agency’s five main locations in Chatsworth, San Bernardino, Palmdale, and Victorville, CCRC’s 27 Head Start preschools are now providing virtual services to families, along with grab and go meal service, and weekly educational activities mailed to family homes.
Here at CCRC, we take health and safety seriously. We also know that our community is depending on us for assistance with quality child care and education, as well as supplies, food, and advocacy. These are strange and unprecedented times, but we know that we are stronger together.