We all know the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially overwhelming for parents and caretakers. Having to care for children and adult dependents at home while also working full-time has left many of us at our wits' end. We also know that stable, affordable childcare arrangements make NIH a better place for all of us to work – not just parents. At this point, most of us have seen working parents having to care for kids during Zoom meetings, fend off requests for snacks, and mitigate disputes between siblings, all while continuing to perform their work responsibilities. Supporting parents means supporting the critical work of the NIH.
Thankfully, NIH's Child and Family Programs team has been hard at work to ensure that resources are available to help as many NIH families as possible. And the NIH Child Care Board, made up of a diverse group of scientific and administrative staff from around the agency, has taken up the charge to serve as ambassadors for these programs and resources and provide support and recommendations to the Office of Research Services (ORS). As NIH's Child and Family Programs are being called upon more than ever to serve our community, we're working to get the word out about all we have to offer.
NIH Child and Family Programs can help you if:
- You're working on-site and your regular child care arrangements fall through (Check out the Back-up Care Program – now available to Trainees/Fellows!).
- You're looking for referrals and childcare or adult dependent care options in the community (Check out our Resource and Referral Services and NIH Child Care Centers Wait List).
- Your adjusted gross income is less than $80,000 per year and you need financial help to send your child or children to a licensed childcare facility (Check out the NIH Child Care Subsidy Program for federal employees).
- You have a parenting question or problem, or just want to learn strategies to help you parent better in challenging times (Check out the NIH Parenting Coach, Lunch and Learn Webinars, and outreach events and don't forget about the “Here to Listen" Staff Support Line at 301-451-1151).
- You want to connect with NIH parents, learn about fun activities in your area, get input on pediatricians, schools, childcares, etc., and occasionally get free kid's clothes, toys, and more from NIH parents (Join the Parenting Listserv!).
To learn more about NIH's programs for children and families, visit the Child and Family Programs website or check out this flyer for a full list of resources. And if you're passionate about ensuring quality, accessible, and affordable child care options are available for NIH families, consider joining the Child Care Board! Look out for our annual membership appeal in the spring and feel free to reach out to us any time. This is a tremendously difficult time, but NIH has resources available to help your family survive (and hopefully thrive!) in 2021 and beyond.