A new website, located at ChildcareMHC.org, is available for parents, caregivers, and providers to help navigate childcare resources in Martinsville-Henry County.
The website, developed by a local childcare task force, identifies available slots at each childcare facility in the area and provides resources for existing childcare providers.
The group also developed an Emergency Childcare Scholarship Fund that offers participants the opportunity to receive up to $50 per week in subsidies going to a childcare provider of their choice. The program is need-based for children ages 4-12 who are residents of Martinsville-Henry County. The application can be found at the centralized website, ChildcareMHC.org.
“COVID-19 has made it abundantly clear the important role safe and effective childcare has not only on the healthy development of children but also the ability of parents and caregivers to participate in the local workforce,” said Philip Wenkstern, executive director of United Way. “The goal of the Emergency Childcare Scholarship Fund is to help parents cover this unexpected cost so they can remain working to provide for their families.”
The Harvest Foundation convened the task force to study the childcare system in Martinsville-Henry County and determine gaps or needed resources. The task force comprises several community organizations and local government entities including Henry-Martinsville Department of Social Services, Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp., Boys & Girls Clubs of the Blue Ridge, Harvest Foundation, United Way of Henry County and Martinsville, Smart Beginnings Martinsville Henry, and the Martinsville-Henry County Family YMCA.
Sheryl Agee, impact officer and team leader at the Harvest Foundation, said, “We convened (the) task force because we think it’s important that all parents have access to quality and affordable childcare.”
Harvest President Kate Keller added, “The foundation is proud to support this effort to connect parents to resources and needed assistance.”
Smart Beginnings Martinsville-Henry will continue to provide resources to existing childcare providers throughout the community, said Director Melanie McLarty. “Smart Beginnings Martinsville-Henry is committed to working with the childcare task force on supporting our local child care providers so they can continue to meet the needs of working parents by providing safe and consistent child or school-age care for children 0-12 during the COVID – 19 crisis,” she said.
Local after-school providers came to the table to help solve challenges surrounding childcare for working parents.
“Ensuring there is adequate childcare for families is critical to a solid workforce,” said Brad Kinkema, CEO of the YMCA. “We are happy to play a leading role in making sure there are safe and affordable places for children to go while parents work.”
Boys and Girls Club CEO Joanie Petty expressed the same commitment. “We all operate with a common mission of providing safe, educational, and optimal choices for parents and childcare,” Petty said. “The pandemic has allowed our organizations to analyze our processes and figure out ways to work together in partnership to serve working families while caring for their children.”
A variety of resources for childcare providers, parents, and guardians at can be found on the website at ChildcareMHC.org:
Childcare Quality and Safety – It’s Important!
Learn more about Child Care Quality and COVID-19 guidelines for Child Care Programs: