NCDHHS launches hotline for critical workers seeking child care options

RALEIGH — A hotline to help critical workers find child care during the COVID-19 pandemic has been launched by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The state agency announced Tuesday that it has partnered with the North Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral network to establish a hotline to provide child-care options for children of critical workers who do not have access to typical care because of COVID-19 closures.

Families who have flexible working arrangements are encouraged to stay at home with their children, according to the the department. Workers who need care can call 1-888-600-1685 to receive information about local options for children from infants through age 12. The hotline is open Mondays through Fridays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Child care is a critical service. People working on the front lines of the COVID-19 response need access to safe, quality child care so they can know their own children are being well cared for as they care for others,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Care will be offered by child-care providers who agree to meet updated health, safety and operational guidelines, according to the NCDHHS. Priority will be given to children of critical workers, which includes emergency and first responders, hospital staff, front-line health care providers, nursing and adult group home staff, child care program staff, food service staff and others working to keep communities safe and healthy in response to COVID-19. Priority also will be given for care for children who are receiving child welfare services, homeless or in unstable or unsafe living arrangements.

For more information, visit ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov/coronavirus.