Child-focused – Safe programming
That means excellent adult supervision and appropriate activities and environments. When kids are in our care, our full attention is on them.
Parents know they can count on Clayton to provide programming when we say we’ll be there. Internally, if we tell a team member we’ll be somewhere or that we’ll do something, we make it happen.
Clayton has a great reputation with our school partners for being adaptable. Examples are our willingness to vacate our designated space at a school so that the school can use it for other purposes. Another example is our ability to meet the needs of our school district partners when they need childcare at a new time or on a different schedule.
I hope this note finds you mentally and physically healthy. You are in my thoughts each day as we all look forward to moving into a post-pandemic time. I’m writing because it is very important that you are informed with what is happening with the agency.
Program Services: We still only have One Safe Place in operation and so far it has approximately 25% of its capacity being utilized. I’ve been on nearly daily calls with the Tarrant County Corona Response Team and other providers to get a sense of the demand for services for “essential workers” (i.e. healthcare workers, grocery store employees, etc.) The increase in demand hasn’t materialized and I suspect that is because so many people are staying home that parents have family members or neighbors to turn to for child care. While we will keep looking to meet the need, I don’t think this will lead to much, if anything, in the way of any sites reopening.
Summer Outlook: We are in regular communication with Fort Worth ISD and Keller ISD about summer programming and school availability. The school districts cannot give us a definitive answer because they are awaiting guidance from public health and government leaders. I think there is a possibility we will be able to operate some summer camp sites. We’ll stay close to the school district contacts and will let you know when we get an indication of what will happen.
Fall Programming: I fully anticipate the schools will reopen in the fall and we’ll be running programs at schools. It is certain that we’ll have some new policies and procedures to follow but I anticipate the programming will look very much like our traditional programs.
- Federal Support: We are taking a deep dive into the federal loan programs designed to help businesses and non-profits during this challenging economic time. If the loan program works for us, we will be bringing people back to work as soon as practical.
- Ongoing Efforts: The skeleton crew that is still working is staying quite busy. Some of the activities we are working on right now are:
- Processing grant billings for March services.
- Handling unemployment claims.
- Writing grants for philanthropic support (both short and long-term support) and CCPD funding.
- Hosting Zoom meetings for you to stay connected with your colleagues.
- Making progress on the Clayton Quest curriculum so that it can be completed this year rather than sometime in 2021.
- Planning the back-to-school trainings that will merge the social and emotional learning content with our traditional operational training information.
- Understanding expectations from TEA for the Cycle 9 grant. Even though schools are closed, we are exploring with TEA ways we can provide support to students.
- Preparing for everyone’s return by updating policies and procedures, the employee handbook and the parent handbook.
- Working on the agency’s new budget that will begin in July.
- Communicating with school districts, funders, board members and the community directly and through social media and the Clayton website.
I’ll keep you updated as new information becomes available. In the meantime, I encourage you to:
1. Stay informed by checking back here for updates, our goal is to update the site weekly.
2. Make sure your Clayton friends have seen this message and that they know to check the webpage.
3. Participate in Monday/Wednesday/Friday community meetings offered via Zoom (be on the lookout for Remind texts)
Please take care of yourself and your family. I look forward to again working together soon.
These are unusual times for all of us here at Clayton. We are all about the children of Tarrant County and the closure of the schools has suspended the after-school communities where we build and maintain so many important relationships. Many of us are feeling a mix of emotions – a sense of loss, peace at being able to take care of your family and yourself, anxiety, concern for our friends, family, and co-workers, worry for how our students are doing…the list is as varied as each person’s experience. I hope you are taking care of yourself and your family.
In this time of waiting, it can be difficult not knowing what is happening so I want to share a few of the things that the small crew left at the office is working on:
Childcare for Essential Workers: One Safe Place is open with extra safety precautions in place. We are actively exploring ways to help meet the needs of more healthcare workers and other essential personnel who need childcare during the crisis. We anticipate that the need for services could spike and we are preparing for that possibility by exploring non-school sites that could be used for childcare. If we do open additional centers, we will be contacting those of you who responded to the survey sent earlier this month and indicated that you would like to work.
Preparing for the re-opening of schools: We are using this pause in operations to ensure our summer camps are ready to start quickly. Should our school district partners decide to not resume operation in the school buildings for the spring semester, we will be ready to begin our camp programs earlier than our typical start date in May/June if/when the shelter-in-place orders are lifted and our families head back to work.
Managing the agency: Essential agency operations continue even when our programs are closed. In the hours available to us, we are staying on top of new laws as they happen, applying for grants to support our summer and/or fall operations, and supporting the One Safe Place program. Clayton is also co-leading the emergency child care response team for Tarrant County and we are preparing to address new needs as they come up.
Supporting you: In addition to looking for ways to open emergency centers that could provide work for those who want it, we are paying 100% of staff member health insurance premiums for the month of April ensure you have healthcare and to reduce your financial burden. Clayton’s Area Program Managers and Social and Emotional Learning Coaches are also working together to set up some online coffee breaks open to all staff who would like to connect for conversation and support. Watch for more about this soon.
While many things are out of our control, we are looking forward to seeing our students and colleagues again when Clayton is able to safely offer our after-school and child care programs. This employee-focused page is going to be where we keep the heart of Clayton beating and I invite you to check back regularly as it will be updated frequently with news about Clayton and resources to help you and your family.