Worries about their children's safety can compromise employees' productivity and even their safety. That's why the federal government and many state governments make funds available for employer-supported child care.
"We want to reach the child-care problem through employers," says Rich Paulsen of Washington State's Child Care Facilities Fund. "The more companies that are involved, the more likely a center is to survive."
Leona Adams is one of Washington's success stories. When Adams sought state funds to equip her business, Once Upon a Time...A Children's Center, in tiny Loon Lake, Wash., she found that Washington State gives child-care funds only to employer-supported centers.
So Adams asked her clients to approach their employers for her. All 15 companies represented agreed to sponsor the center. She was given a $75,000 loan from the state and a $25,000 block grant from the federal government, and now can care for 75 children. Paulsen says, "It was like a barn raising."
For their part, the companies donated lumber, sand, and other supplies and services. (One sends its custodian to Adams's center every evening.) And a few reserved slots for their workers' children. In return, Adams agreed to provide 24-hour, seven-day care to serve logging outfits (where work starts at 4:30 a.m.) and other client companies that run night shifts. She also runs after-school programs for older children.* * *
The $25 booklet, "Investing in the Future: Child Care Financing Options for the Public and Private Sectors," published by the Child Care Action Campaign (CCAC), in New York City, and the Center for Policy Alternatives, in Washington, D.C., summarizes grant and loan programs available to child-care providers and to employers setting up child-care facilities. The CCAC staff (212-239-0138) can also advise you informally.* * *