|Employers Step Up With 'Tween' Care|
|Topic||Human Resources Management|
|Key Words||Day care programs, after-school care|
More companies are developing programs to provide after-school care for older children and flexible work hours for parents so they can be home with their children when needed. They are finding that their employees are more productive at work when they aren't worrying about their children arriving home from school safely. But quality programs that have a recreational as well as educational component are hard to find. Recently, 44 percent of the companies on Working Mother magazine's annual "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" list offered before or after-school care for older children, compared with 4 percent nationwide. A recent poll found that 87 percent of working mothers say the hours after school are when they are most concerned about their children's safety. Statistics about children using drugs and alcohol and becoming sexually active at earlier ages adds to their fears. The early work-life programs focused solely on helping employees with very young children. Now it is recommended that employers become a more integral part of helping employees meet their needs. The Illinois Center for Violence Prevention is a program that urges businesses to form regional collaborations to determine child-care needs for older children, then to partner with community organizations to expand the services they can provide to employees. Abbott Labs partners with 6 community groups, including the YMCA, to address child-care needs. It awards grants to child-care providers where Abbott employees live. Abbott began the program with a survey of employees to find out what they needed. It built a child-care center on site that has before and after-school care and runs a kindergarten. The company also sponsors a summer camp. Some companies have extended their after-school outreach program nationwide. J.C. Penney Co. created a public charity that supports four after-school child-care providers. To be successful, programs need support from senior management.
|Source||"Employers Step Up With 'Tween' Care, Chicago Tribune, November 22, 2003, section 5, p. 5.|
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