SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — The state of California is unveiling a web portal for parents working essential jobs to access child care facilities, including a number of new pop-up facilities across the state.

The MyChildCare.ca.gov portal allows parents to enter their zip code and be shown on a map the available child care facilities in their area. The results would list the sites and include contact information, current availabilty and licensing information.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday the effort to put together such a portal has been nearly two decades in the making and is based on child care portals created by the United Domestic Workers of America union and Service Employees International Union.

Newsom said as the father of four children, he understands the challenges that working parents are facing during the pandemic trying to help with distance learning during the closure of schools across the state.

“These challenges, they birth necessity and innovation. And what we’re announcing today is — because of necessity — an innovative portal, an innovative platform that the Department of Social Services has put up for child care in this state,” said Newsom. “63 percent of licensed child-care facilities in the state have been impacted from this crisis. That is a jaw-dropping number.”

The governor acknowledged that some zip codes would not display a lot of child care centers and that it would be the state’s responsibility to find such “child care deserts” and improve upon availability in those areas.

“In the interim, this portal is profoundly important. This portal is a tool to navigate. A tool where we do a lot of the vetting, we do a lot of the research. We do an assessment that is dynamic in real time that is updated and allows you to go in, type in your zip code and then see pop ups of all of these child-care facilities in your area,” Newsom explained.

Newsom said the state legislature has alloted $50 million toward preparing and sanitizing the state’s certified child care centers in partnership with the state Department of Education.

“We know that child care keeps California working,” said Director of California’s Department of Social Services Kim Johnson. “The $50 million investment that the Governor mentioned, that’s going to service 20,000 individuals in accessing child-care subsidies across our state.”

Johnson said the portal would also cater to vulnerable populations such as welfare recipients, abuse and neglect survivors, homeless and special needs children. All child care centers would be held to comply with current health orders on social and physical distancing guidelines, such as keeping group sizes as small as possible and emphasizing visual cues to make sure kids understand the space required for proper distancing and hand washing.

 

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