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The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the N.C. Child Care Resource and Referral Network, launched a hotline to provide child care options for children of critical workers who do not have access to typical care due to COVID-19 closures, according to the state.
Families who have flexible working arrangements are encouraged to stay at home with their children. 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 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
“Child care is a critical service,” Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a news release. “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.”
Care will be offered by child care providers who agree to meet updated health, safety and operational guidelines, according to the state.
State officials said 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 will also be given for care for children who are receiving child welfare services, homeless or in unstable or unsafe living arrangements,” according to the news release.