Two of Tacoma’s largest youth-service organizations will expand their hours for as long as Tacoma Public Schools teachers are on strike and some 28,000 students are not in school buildings.
Others ranging from church youth leaders to local community centers were scrambling to provide child care options.
But the number of slots may not accommodate all the younger students who need some level of supervision over an indefinite number of days.
Mary Twomey, a board member of the Family Child Care Association of Pierce County, said the poor economy means some private providers do have openings this time of year. But parents can’t count on that.
“If they haven’t been savvy and reading the news about the strikes and haven’t planned, they’re out of luck,” said Twomey, who has about 30 years in the business. “They’ll be the ones staying home with (their kids).”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound will be open from 7 a.m.- 6 p.m each weekday. The extended hours will be available for a total of 650 students at its four locations: Henry T. Schatz branch (3875 S. 66th St.); Eastside Neighborhood site (4818 E. Portland Ave.); Al Davies branch (1620 S. 17th St.); and D.A. Gonyea branch (5136 N. 26th St.).
Prices vary, depending on membership status. For members who participate only in the 10 a.m.-4 p.m. drop-in program, there will be no additional fee. For those who take advantage of the extended hours, the cost will be $10 for members and $25 for nonmembers each day per child. Scholarships are available for those who can’t afford the fees.
The YMCA also will provide extended hours for its child care program. Michelle LaRue, spokeswoman for the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, said it will have child care continuously from 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Parents can call as early as 5:30.
YMCA staff normally take child care services to local campuses before and after school, but during the strike they will provide care during that full 12-hour period at the Morgan Family branch, 1002 S. Pearl St.
For families enrolled in the YMCA, there are no additional fees in the short term, LaRue said. For families that aren’t enrolled but would like to participate, the cost is $35 per day per child.
Diana Envolsen, vice president of the local Child Care Association, said the strike will have a larger impact on parents than on children.
“It affects the families more, because they’re trying to make arrangements,” Envolsen said.
Child care providers must adhere to strict guidelines of how many children they are allowed to have in their facilities, she added.
“If there was some leeway to have a few more children, it would probably be easier,” she said.
Stephanie Kim: 253-597-8692 email@example.com
For more information
• About Boys & Girls Clubs programs, call 253-502-4600 or go online to www.bgcsps.org.
• About YMCA programs, call 253-564-9622 or go online to www.ymcapkc.org/childcare.