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$500,000 contribution underwrites new Allegheny Child Care search tool, plus grants for childcare operators

Kristy Locklin
May21/ 2020

Childcare providers in Pittsburgh are getting a much-needed boost in these stressful times.

The Heinz Endowments awarded a $200,000 grant to the child advocacy organization, Trying Together, to help strengthen the region’s childcare sector during the pandemic.

The money, combined with $300,000 in contributions from the multi-foundation supported Emergency Action Fund, will be used to underwrite critically needed grants to childcare providers and fund Allegheny Child Care.

This new digital platform is a search tool that gives families real-time information about childcare center availability.

Trying Together will work with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, along with the City of Pittsburgh, to distribute funds by early July. Grants will range from $500 to $2,500.

“As we continue to move this community forward to a new ‘normal,’ it’s absolutely imperative that those employees who are able to return to work can have the support that they need for the care of their children,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “This funding and initiative will give those residents some relief in being able to find available childcare and confidence that their children are being well cared for during this pandemic.”

In compliance with state-mandated shutdown orders, most non-home-based childcare facilities closed, leaving many parents in the lurch, especially those deemed “essential” workers.

“The lack of access to dependable, quality childcare has been a critical issue during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for those dedicated individuals working in essential services,” said Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant. “The strengths, expertise and experience of our community working together have fast-tracked the development of a resource designed to help working families during this crisis and beyond.”

Allegheny Child Care enables users to search for childcare, both home- and center-based, in real-time, and easily identify places with open spaces for children. Parents can get help using the new digital tool as well as logistical and financial assistance, through the Early Learning Resource Center Region 5 website.

As stay-at-home orders are lifted, plans may include expansion with features that support the childcare needs of all families and the specialists that work with children. With a state-wide childcare crisis looming, this help is imperative. (Read our Kidsburgh childcare story here.)

Investing in early childcare and education programs so essential workers can continue their work “has been a critical need since day one,” said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., executive director of Child Care Aware of America. “With partners like the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Trying Together, and the philanthropic community, that need in Western Pennsylvania is being faced head-on through this public-private partnership model.”

Kristy Locklin

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