Firefighter holding his child in front of a fire truck
Apr 1, 2020

Buehler and Irving Park Ys offering Emergency Response Child Care


To register call 773-905-5115

Across Chicagoland and the state, life as we know it has ground to a halt. Schools are closed and so many parents are working from home, all to do our part to employ social-distancing practices. Here at the Y, we are also finding important ways to impactfully support our community members who need it the most during this time.

We’d like to acknowledge and thank the region’s first responders, healthcare professionals and other essential workers who are on the frontlines of this pandemic. While they are supporting us, the YMCA will be supporting them by providing Emergency Response Child Care. This program will assist these families by providing daily child care in our Buehler and Irving Park YMCA locations. The program is open for registration and will run M-F from 6:30 am - 7:30 pm starting Monday, April 6, 2020. It is open to children ages 5-12.

We are well-positioned to ensure all children are physically and emotionally safe while in our care. We are taking additional steps by providing daily health screenings at check-in, small classroom ratio sizes and activities that do not require close physical contact. The health and safety of the families we serve continues to be our top priority. We would not establish this offering without full confidence in our staff, our facilities and the additional methods we will be using to keep all of us safe during this time.

If you or anyone you know could benefit from this service, please enroll immediately as spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Enrollment for this program is open now. To register, call 773-905-5115.


We thank you for your continued support of our first responder families and neighbors throughout Chicagoland. This is an unprecedented challenge for all of us, and the YMCA will continue to lend a hand however we can.

Looking for child care closer to your home? Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. We'd appreciate your input.






Q) Who can benefit from this Program?
All families with children ages 5-12 can participate. Priority will be given to first responders, front-line health care workers and those in essential services who are providing their services during the current pandemic. 

Q)What does the Program offer?
Starting Monday, April 6, 2020, the YMCA of Metro Chicago will offer emergency child care services at its Irving Park YMCA in the city and Buehler YMCA in Palatine. Each location will be equipped to receive 50 children aged between 5-12 years. Child care assistance will be available from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm Monday to Friday.

Q) What will it cost?
$20 per child per day if you qualify for Illinois Child Care Assistance Program. If not, then it is $60 per child per day.

Q) What are the criteria for registering for the Y's Emergency Response Child Care? Are there any geographical limitations or income limits?
There are no geographical limitations or income limits. This is a fee-based program.

Q) If I register, am I guaranteed a spot for my child(ren)?
We are authorized to serve a maximum of 50 children at each location. Vacancies will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Y is reaching out to families in other communities to gauge interest in potentially offering the same program out of its other locations if needed.

Q) Why are you only serving a maximum of 50 children at each location?
Per guidelines from the State of Illinois.

Q) What is the staff/child ratio?   
1 adult:10 children

Q) What will the daily schedule look like for my school-aged child? 

  • Morning Drop-Off and Health Screening - We will take the temperature of everyone - children and adults – upon entry every day and check for symptoms.
  • Welcome & Intentional Choice Time - Art activity, construction activity (blocks, puzzle, etc.), music or dramatic play section, competitive and collaborative games, reading or other quiet activity.
  • Breakfast - Healthy meal provided by the Y
  • Circle/Check-In - Review the day’s objective, theme, goal, or quote
  • (Youth have the opportunity to share their feelings and listen to their peers)
  • Experiential Learning  - Structured curriculum activity that utilizes facilitation best practices
  • Lunch - Healthy meal provided by the Y
  • Physical Activity - Stretching, short game, or other physical activity (while practicing social distancing!)
  • Homework Help - We understand many schools are continuing to provide students with schoolwork during the closure—Just as we typically do in our afterschool programs, students will be supported to complete their work
  • Afternoon Snack - Healthy snack provided by the Y
  • Experiential Learning - Structured curriculum activity that utilizes facilitation best practices
  • Check-Out - Youth to share a reflection about the day as they’re leaving

Q) Will meals and snacks be provided?  
Yes, the Y will provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and an afternoon snack. Meals and snacks will be served in the classrooms to avoid congregating in large groups. All food and utensils will be handled by staff (not children) to reduce the risk of spreading germs. All meals come pre-packaged.

Q) What steps will the Y take to make sure this is a safe environment?  

To keep children and staff safe, the Y has put in place several precautionary measures in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to ensure social distancing is practiced consistently throughout the day, including:

  • take the temperature of everyone - children and adults – upon entry,
  • confirm with each participant and staff member that they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms,
  • verify that there has not been any recent contact with anyone known to have COVID-19,
  • eliminate large group activities by reducing group sizes to no more than 10 people total in a room,
  • plan activities that do not require close physical contact,
  • increase the distance between children during table work,
  • require increased handwashing by all
  • serve pre-packaged meals and snacks in the classrooms to avoid congregating in large groups,
  • segment large spaces such as gymnasiums and multi-purpose rooms into multiple sections to maintain a minimum of 6 feet distance,
  • keep groups consistent throughout the day and, as far as possible, maintain the same groups from day to day to reduce the risk of potential cross exposure, and
  • arrange for increased cleaning and sanitization of the building throughout the day, as well as nightly deep cleaning at each site.

Q) What safety checks will you be conducting every day?
We will take the temperature and check symptoms for staff and children upon entry every day and ask if medications were used to lower the child’s temperature and if there are any household members with COVID-19.

Q) How will we maintain social distancing at the centers?

  • Reduce group/room sizes to no larger than 11 people total, including children and adults (e.g., one adult and ten children, two adults and nine children, etc).
  • Large rooms such as gymnasiums and multi-purpose rooms will be divided into multiple sections with clear barriers designated by cones, chairs, tables, etc. to ensure a minimum of 6 feet between all groups.
  • Eliminate large group activities.
  • Plan activities that do not require close physical contact between people.
  • Incorporate social distancing within groups, aiming for at least three to six feet between children and minimizing the amount of time children are in close contact with each other.
  • Keep groups together throughout the day without combining groups (e.g., at opening and closing). To the degree possible, we will maintain the same groups from day-to-day. This will help reduce potential exposure.

Q) What will you do if a child/adult starts displaying symptoms while in your care?  
If a child or staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19 (fever of 100.4 or higher, cough or shortness of breath) while at the facility, we will immediately move the individual to a dedicated location and call their family member for immediate pick-up. If symptoms persist or worsen, we will call their health care provider for further guidance. We will advise our employee or child’s parent or caregiver to inform the facility immediately if the person is diagnosed with COVID-19. 

If a child or employee tests positive for COVID-19, we will contact the local health authority to identify all those who have had close contact with the individual for quarantine.

If we experience a confirmed case of COVID-19 among our population we will consider closing at least temporarily (e.g. for 14 days, or possibly longer if advised by local health officials.) 

If the infected individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 spent minimal time (i.e. 10 minutes or less) in close contact with those in the child care facility, the facility may consider closing for 2-5 days for deep cleaning and disinfecting. 

Q) Will the two centers be deep-cleaned nightly?
Yes, we have a dedicated cleaning crew that will conduct a deep cleaning of the centers every night. Additionally, the rooms will be cleaned and sanitized frequently throughout the day.

To register, call 773-905-5115