ITHACA, N.Y. –– A recent influx of funding has allowed the Child Development Council of Central New York to expand their financing for baby supplies and child care scholarships for those adversely affected by COVID-19.

The funding for both projects comes from grants awarded by the United Way of Tompkins County, who gave $10,254 — enabled by donor contributions to their COVID-19 relief efforts through the agency’s TMS Flexible Fund, as well as grants awarded by the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, who has given $10,000 through its COVID19 Fund and a donor-advised fund.

Families with young children whose monthly household budgets have been upended due to business closings, lay-offs, and unemployment will now be able to access baby formula, diapers and wipes through the Child Development Council. Supplies are limited and can be requested by completing an online form. Once the form has been submitted, families will receive more information and an assigned pick up time. For questions or support, contact babysupplies@childdevelopmentcouncil.org

This funding also allows essential workers in need of child care for their preschool and school-aged children to apply for child care scholarships.

Sue Dale-Hall, the CEO of the Child Development Council said it’s important to support essential workers during the current crisis.

“We really need our health care and emergency services personnel to be able to go to work and care for our community. Child care scholarships will help those who have had to find new care when their circumstances change,” Dale-Hall said.

If families do not need financial assistance, the Child Development Council can provide support by identifying child care placements that are currently open. Families interested in either of these opportunities can inquire by emailing info@childdevelopmentcouncil.org.

County Administrator Jason Molino issued an executive order on March 17, directing all state-licensed daycare centers in Tompkins County close through at least April 13. Following the announcement, two licensed daycare centers were allowed to re-open, but only to serve the children of essential personnel.

As a consequence of the decision, parents and child-care workers have faced tough financial decisions –– having to decide whether or not they should pay and collect regular fees for services currently unavailable.

Dale-Hall said that this is a long term problem she and her team are looking working to solve.

“We don’t want to lose our child care. We don’t want to lose our teachers. We don’t want to lose the entities that are there. And we don’t want them to go out of business,” she said. “So it’s really important that we think as a Child Development Council about what the long term picture is. I realize that this is really difficult for families. If they paid a fee and have a back bill, and are not going to be able to recover that, we’re going to try to support that as well.”

For those who are interested in donating, gifts to each of the funds can be made online through United Way of Tompkins County, and selecting COVID-19 relief, and through the Community Foundation by writing in “COVID-19 Relief Fund” under “Fund Name.” You may also give a gift to United Way of Tompkins County over the phone by calling 607-500-GIVE or calling the Community Foundation of Tompkins County at (607) 272-9333.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com