ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – The child care crisis in Roanoke County has reached another setback.
A new task force to address child care and virtual learning needs in the community recently started pop-up child care centers in local churches. However, they do not have any staff members to watch the 60 children who have already enrolled.
Nancy Hans with the Prevention Council of Roanoke County and CommUNITY Church Pastor Tom McCracken serve on the new task force, made up of Roanoke County Public Schools, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club and United Way.
“We really don’t want kids being home alone,” said Hans.
On days when kids aren’t in the classroom, 3rd through 6th grade students will have a safe and academic-friendly environment to go to.
“The only thing preventing us now, the only obstacle that we have to deal with is staffing,” said McCracken.
The task force is looking to hire six part-time workers for the CommUNITY Church site alone and is willing to make it worth your while. They are offering a $1,500 signing bonus and wages up to $13 an hour.
“We have the facilities, we have the model, we have all of our ’i’s’ dotted, we are ready to go. We just need a lot of people to step up to the YMCA, contact them, fill out an application and get the ball rolling,” said McCracken.
Other pop-ups at Vinton Baptist Church, North Roanoke Baptist Church and Church of the Holy Spirit all need staff members.
Parents signing up their kids are running into roadblocks, too. The application process is more in-depth than just putting a child’s name down on a list. Guardians can head to smart2start.org to start the process. Then guardians will be contacted and need to provide the right documentation, including proof of the child’s name, age, grade, address and family income.
Hans said parents should not be afraid to ask for help.
“Parents are struggling to figure all of this out, just as we are,” said Hans. “It’s not something that we’ve ever done before.”
To apply for a job at one of the pop-up centers, contact the YMCA.
The task force is also looking for more churches to get on board and provide space for the child care centers.