TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 20, 2020 – The Florida Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning (OEL), in coordination with local early learning coalitions, has prioritized and increased access to child care services for first responders and health care professionals. Currently, over 50 percent of Florida’s child care facilities are closed due to COVID-19. Many essential professionals, first responders and health care professionals rely on this care for their children, especially those working extended hours to provide medical care to those in need. OEL has created a referral process, in partnership with employers and statewide early learning coalitions to swiftly provide priority access and expedited referrals for children of first responders and health care professionals.
“Our first responders and health care professionals are on the front lines fighting COVID-19,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “These individuals are critical to providing medical care to those affected by the virus, and finding child care for their own children while performing these life-saving jobs allows them to continue serving the public. The Department of Education is committed to doing everything it can to help first responders and health care professionals find quality child care services while school campuses are closed. First responders and health care workers needing help finding a child care provider should contact their local early learning coalition for assistance. To find a map of Early Learning Providers throughout the state visit the Office of Early Learning website. These services will be authorized for three months, and the continued need for child care will be reevaluated prior to the end of services. For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit www.fldoe.org.