Parents in high priority neighbourhoods who need help finding child care to attend a COVID-19 vaccine appointment have another option, free of charge.
Connections Early Years Family Centre is extending its regular services through the Be Back Soon program. Families in qualifying neighbourhoods can access free short-term, unlicensed child care in order to make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
"We really, really want to get the word out. This is available, your children will be completely safe," said Barb Brown, Executive Director of Connections Early Years Family Centre.
According to Brown, the staff are all registered early childhood educators and the facility meets the health and safety standards set out by the health unit.
The extended vaccine program launched on Monday June 21 to parents living in neighbourhoods with the following postal codes: N8H, N8X, N8Y, N9A, N9B, N9C, and N9Y.
Brown said the City of Windsor approached the centre last month, asking her to extend the program's services to high priority areas in need of a COVID-19 vaccine because child care had been identified as a barrier.
"This was just a natural fit to actually enhance what we're already doing and using it to focus on one key barrier to getting a vaccine," said Brown.
In a media release, Jelena Payne, Windsor's Commissioner of Human and Health Services said the city is proud to support the program.
"Reopening this program will reduce barriers for families to book their vaccines, as the service provides a safe environment for children while they attend their appointments," Payne wrote.
The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce is paying for taxis if parents need a lift to their vaccine appointments or to the childcare centre. They have been offering free rides to vaccine appointments since April.
The Be Back Soon Program runs seven days a week and will offer its extended child care services to youth from infancy to 12 years of age. Proof of residency will be required to families who want to part-take in the program.
The Connections Early Years Family Centre is located in central Windsor at 795 Giles Boulevard East.