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Exempt Emergency Child Care Program

During these unprecedented times, the Berkshire Family YMCA (BFYMCA) is responding to the critical need for child care services for emergency personnel. Download a .pdf of this information.

Effective Monday, March 23, beginning at 6:30am, the Berkshire Family YMCA will provide childcare for emergency personnel who do not have the option to work from home, as defined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  

Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs (EECCPs) will support essential workers and vulnerable families that have no other option for childcare services (e.g., family members). Families should be seeking alternative non-group care settings for child care to abide by social distancing during this public health emergency. EECCP providers, authorized through a unique request and approval process by EEC, are required to prioritize vulnerable children and the children of families who must work to maintain the health, safety and welfare of all Commonwealth citizens due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

BFYMCA has changed lives for the better over the course of our 130-year history in Berkshire County. We expect to continue to do so, regardless of the chal­lenges we are currently facing. Throughout the Y’s history, we have been called upon in times of crisis, conflict and strife to provide critical services. We ask for your ongoing support of our efforts during this trying time. 

Hours 

Monday – Friday 

6:30am – 6:00pm 

DROP IN Child Care Locations 

  • Pittsfield Branch: 292 North St. Pittsfield, MA. 01201
    • Contact: 413-499-7650 x. 110
    • Capacity: 40 (First come/First Serve) 
  • Northern Berkshire Branch: 22 Brickyard Ct. North Adams, MA. 01247
    • Contact: 413-347-6534
    • Capacity: 40 (First come/First Serve) 

EXEMPT EMERGENCY CHILD CARE PROGRAM INFORMATION 

Essential Personnel Include: 

COVID-19 health workers, grocery store employees, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, transportation and infrastructure workers, sanitation workers, DCF-involved families, and families living in shelters. 

Information for parents and guardians about EECCPs: 

  • EECCPs will be funded by the Commonwealth and families will not pay enrollment fees  
  • Services will be on a drop-in basis only and will not be operating under current childcare enrollment processes 
  • Days of Operation: Monday-Friday 6:30am-6:00PM 
  • Guardians are required to contact the EECCP to confirm whether there are available slots, prior to traveling to the EECCP 
  • At drop off, guardians will be required to sign a legal waiver and complete required medical forms for their child to attend the EECCP Updated 3/20/2020. Call ahead and a enrollment packet will be emailed to you. 
  • EECCPs will have the discretion to accept or deny families due to resource constraints 
  • Transportation will not be provided to EECCPs 
  • Guardians must pick up their children by 6PM every day. 
  • Food Options 
    • Pittsfield Location: Breakfast and Lunch Provided through PPS 
    • North Adams: Provide your own meals. 
  • There is no need to pre-register but the following forms must be completed: Child Enrollment Form for Emergency Child Care Program at Berkshire Family YMCA or copy/paste into your browser: https://bfymca.org/sites/default/files/documents/EEC%20Emergency%20Child%20Care%20-%20Parent%20Packet.pdf
    • To reduce the wait at drop off please complete the form prior to drop off on the first day.  
  • Drop off will take place at the main door of the facility. Please call the following numbers if no one is at the door: 
    • Pittsfield Branch: 413-499-7650 x. 110 
    • Northern Berkshire: 413-499-7650 x. 210 
  • All children will be temperature checked at the time of drop off.  

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

Does my child need to have been previously enrolled in the Y’s child care program to participate? 

  • No. The program is for Essential Personnel, including COVID-19 health workers, grocery store employees, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, transportation and infrastructure workers, sanitation workers, DCF-involved families, and families living in shelters.  

Will I be required to pay to enroll my child at an Exempt Emergency Program?  

  • No. The Commonwealth will fund the operation of these programs.  

Will emergency child care workers get priority testing for COVID-19?  

  • Yes. DPH Staff will prioritize emergency childcare workers that are exposed or symptomatic for testing of COVID-19.  

Will educators working in these programs be tested for COVID-19 before beginning work?  

  • Based on the available science and the high demand for testing, at this time DPH is not recommending proactive testing.  
  • EECCPs will be implementing a strict Health and Safety Protocol that includes things like requiring that anyone who works with children take their temperature every morning before coming to work. And if any children or educators in these programs begin to show symptoms of COVID-19, they will be expedited for testing and the protocol will lay out immediate steps to mitigate further exposure.  

Will we be provided with the necessary safety materials (gloves, masks, wipes, etc.)?  

  • Child care workers will not be able to receive personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, etc.) given the significant shortages across the state. These need to be reserved for healthcare workers who are regularly interacting with people with active COVID-19. However, we are problem-solving how to get hand sanitizer/soap/disinfectant sprays deployed to EECCPs.

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March 22nd, 2020