Essential health care and public safety employees in Sarasota County can enroll their children for free at The Florida Center Starfish Academy, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, SKY Family YMCA and sites contracted with the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County, as space is available.

Essential workers

To help some parents who are essential workers, Florida’s Office of Early Learning (OEL) released a new program to support first responders and health care workers with child care. The program will cover the cost of care on a temporary basis for up to three months, and will be available to critical first responders, regardless of income.

In Sarasota, the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and Sarasota Memorial Health Care System (SMH) spearheaded an initiative to open child care spaces for children of health care workers and first responders.

A survey of SMH employees reported more than 1,400 children needed somewhere to go while schools and private child care facilities are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SHT 4/11/2020

Sherry Ellis