Irene Moore has been a family child care provider for more than 30 years. She loves her job and the kids she cares for in her home in Crystal. With seven children of her own, ranging in age from 31 to 12, she can’t imagine doing anything different.
“I always dreamed of having a large family and being a stay-at-home mom. Having a large family meant needing more income, so I put the two together,” Moore said. “Now, I have a very large ‘extended’ family as well.”
Moore is keeping her child care program, Nellie’s Daycare, open throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and remains available to her current clients who all work in essential service areas. The children she cares for have parents who work as a doctor and a teacher, or are employed by a financial institution, a hardware store, an electric company and an insurance company.
“I wanted to remain available to all of my families so that even if they are working from home, they could have their children maintain routines, and the parents could work without interruption.”
While many of her families have chosen to keep their children home right now due to underlying conditions, an upcoming birth, etc., she is still receiving some income because many of her parents are still receiving their normal pay. She said if that were not the case, she would be willing to work something out with them.
“I miss my kids greatly. Since I am not able to see all of them in person each day, I have been trying to visit via Facebook chat. We read stories and listen to our music and dance together,” she said. “I have also put together ‘distance learning’ bags for each of the children who are not attending and I have delivered them to their homes. It is a good way to keep them engaged in learning and give them activities to do while their parents try to work from home.”
Moore is following all the CDC guidelines to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. She says her strong faith is getting her through this unprecedented time.
When asked what she would want to tell the Governor and other policy makers to better help her during the COVID-19 crisis, she believes that lawmakers are doing the best that they can under the circumstances. “It is easy to criticize that which we are not in charge of. I think that they have made it clear that child care is an essential service and encouraged us to remain in business, while at the same time expressing understanding for those who feel they must close.”
Moore says there are so many different situations that need to be considered. “I appreciate the funding that they have made available to providers who are prioritizing essential workers. While I would love to open my childcare to all essential workers, I feel my first priority is to be available to my current families when they decide it is right to return to care, and not increase the risk of spreading the disease beyond our group.”