OFC Can Help If Schools Close

Office for Children Can Help Families Make Alternative Child Care Arrangements in case of School Closures

In parts of the National Capital Region, schools have been closed due to suspected cases of Influenza A (H1N1) virus (swine flu). Although there have been no H1N1 flu cases in Fairfax County, families should prepare, and the Fairfax County Office for Children can help families find child care for their children if schools are closed.

“The key is to plan ahead and arrange for care now, in case Fairfax County schools close for any reason,” says the Office for Children’s Director Anne-Marie Twohie. She explains that parents can find child care programs near their home or office by calling 703-449-8484, or visiting the Office for Children's Web site.

The Office for Children maintains a database of more than 2,300 child care programs in Fairfax County. Office for Children records show that hundreds of the county’s child care businesses offer the option of occasional or back-up care. This includes individuals who care for children in their homes, as well as child care centers.

“It’s a good idea for parents to visit a few programs ahead of time to see which child care arrangement will work best for their family,” Twohie says. Then if their child’s school is closed due to the flu or any other type of emergency, parents will have a contingency plan in place.

Making arrangements ahead of time may make it less likely that children will be home alone while parents work. Fairfax County’s child supervision guidelines recommend that even at age 12, children are not yet ready to be left unsupervised more than three hours at a time.



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