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Richmond Taking Applications For First School Child Care Program

Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras speaking at Wednesday's press conference
Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras speaking at Wednesday's press conference. (Courtesy of the City of Richmond livestream)

Richmond is moving forward with plans to offer emergency child care services at some public schools. 

Mayor Levar Stoney announced Wednesday that the YMCA of Greater Richmond has started taking online applications for a child care service at Miles Jones Elementary. In the next few weeks, Stoney said five in-school child care centers will be opened to the public. Priority will be given to low-income families and the children of frontline workers.

Stoney also said a service specifically for students with disabilities will be set up by the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority at Blackwell Elementary School.

“They are working with the school administration to identify families who may benefit and will start reaching out soon,” Stoney said.

The city’s emergency child care program will cost $33 per week, but it’s free for families receiving federal benefits like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

In addition to the YMCA, city officials have floated The Peter Paul Development Center as another possible partner for the in-school emergency child care program. The YMCA received additional funds from the city, paid for through Federal CARES Act funding, to operate centers at Movement Church in the West End and Battery Park Church in Northside. As of Wednesday, both of those locations were already full.

A disagreement between the city and the Richmond School Board over potential liability temporarily held up plans to create the temporary child care program, known as Student Success Centers. 

School officials initially requested a contract with the city, but Stoney requested last week they instead sign agreements with individual child care providers. Those providers and their insurance providers would then be liable in the case of a COVID-19 outbreak. The school board accepted Stoney’s request at Monday night’s meeting.