ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) – The task force working to find child care options for families in Roanoke County is announcing new steps they are taking to recruit people.
So far, more than 60 kids have signed up for pop-up child care. However, there aren’t enough staff members to open the sites.
The co-chair for the task force, Tom McCracken, says there’s been a sense of urgency since March when the committee was founded, but now that school has started, it’s even more important.
They are increasing the sign-on bonus from $150 to $1,500. They are willing to pay up to $13 an hour for these part-time positions depending on education and experience.
“We figure if you just increase the amount of the incentive, hopefully, we’ll be able to bring out and get a good core group of people,” said McCracken.
McCracken is also the Senior Pastor at CommUNITY, which will be the first location for a pop-up program. He says they aren’t looking for just anyone to handle childcare in their classrooms like this one, but they want the best of the best.
“These are our kids, we don’t want to have just a warm body in a classroom. We want people that are qualified. People that we know our children will be safe with. People who have a passion for children and people who are educated and experienced.”
Along with CommUNITY Church in Salem, there are other churches prepared to be hosting sites for pop-up YMCA and Boys & Girls Club childcare programs, but they don’t have enough staff to open.
“I mean, we have campuses that have been sitting idle. Even when the pandemic wasn’t here, Monday through Friday during the day, churches really weren’t being used. They were just shut down.”
They are looking to hire people over the age of 18 who have experience working with kids and can work flexible hours. Six people are needed to get the first site started, but they won’t stop there.
“We need people for each one of those sites, staffed with the Y for each one of those sites, and the Boys and Girls Club. But if something happens at one of those sites, like a COVID outbreak, we need back-up sites. So we definitely need a large pool of people.”
Anyone looking to apply can click here.
The program could cost about $130 a week, but from donation and fundraising, a lot of funds have been made available to help offset the costs.
Parents still looking for childcare can sign up or get more information here.