Childcare facilities trying to meet community needs

BUFFALO (WBEN) - With school just around the corner, parents continue to scramble to figure out what to do about childcare as districts are turning to remote models in varying degrees.

In fact, the need has become so apparent that Erie County is in the process of gathering information on childcare. The Emergency Childcare Taskforce said it's working with Erie 1 BOCES and local school districts to develop a plan, and when asked about it during Wednesday's briefing, County Executive Mark Poloncarz said they'll have more information next week.

In the meantime, childcare facilities are trying to do their best to meet the needs of their communities.

"Our phones have been ringing off the hook," said Lisa Chrapowicz, vice president of operations and education at Edukids. "Edukids is offering a full-day school-aged program on those days that districts are full remote, and it's for grades Kindergarten through fourth grade.

Parents can bring their child's computers and other devices that they need, and each room will have two teachers for up to 15 kids.

"The kids will get plenty of help along the way," Chrapowicz continued. "Kids are going to have their own spaced-out areas to do their school work, and we do request that they wear a mask."

Listen to Chrapowicz's full comments below:

Robert O'Brocta serves as CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Northtowns, and they're also adding full-day programming at their Franklin Street and Riverdale Avenue locations.

"We have the staff and we have the space," he said. "The issue that we do face with COVID is that the space we have and the numbers we can serve are a lot lower than they would be during normal times. Our City of Tonawanda site can serve 45 youth, and at our Ken-Ton site, we can serve 65."

Both O'Brocta and Chrapowicz urged parents to get on it if they're interested because demand is high.

"I think it's going to be important that, to assure they still have a spot, they start making contacts now, whether it's with Boys & Girls Clubs or other youth-serving organizations," said O'Brocta.

Listen to O'Brocta's full comments below: