Alexandria lacks affordable child care resources for lower income and some middle income parents, a citizens' group has told the Alexandria City Council.
The Ad Hoc Citizens' Advisory Committee for Child Care said in its report that there is publicly funded child care for those who qualify financially to use it, and "the affluent presumably can find some sort of child care at any price," but there seems to be a lack of help for other parents who fall between the two extremes.
The advisory committee recommended that the city take an active role in the development and regulation of child care in Alexandria.
The 11-member advisory committee was established in March, 1973, to study child care needs.
The committee suggested in its recommendations that the city should:
Develop its own standards for the licensing of child care centers;
Develop training programs for persons interested in working in the area of child care;
Appoint a permanent advisory committee on child care;
Publish a handbook of existing child care facilities, containing a child care hotline number;
Explore the need for an infant care facility.
According to the report, Alexandria has two basic types of child care services. The first, serving more than four children, is provided by licensed child care centers and certified half-day nursery schools at a site such as a church. The second is provided in private homes.
The committee also conducted a survey to determine day care strengths and weaknesses and to gather information. When asked why child care services were needed, 60 per cent of those who responded said educational and social development of the child were important.
Slightly more than half also said that both parents worked, both parents were in school, or the parent in a single-parent household worked.
Child services were used in 36 per cent of the homes so the parents could have free time. Ninety per cent of the families using day are centers said they relied on them primarily because the parents worked or were in school.
The average household expenditure for child care was $62.60 per month, and the average home used day care services slightly more than 100 hours a month, the survey showed.
The committee noted that with few exceptions, most child care services in Alexandria are "fairly good" and some of them are "excellent." Problems mainly are due to inaccessibility of child care because of location and price, and the lack of such things as weekend services.
In other developments, the council members received a progress report from the Commission on Aging.
The commission's six committees said they discovered gaps in several service programs for the elderly, including the need for weekend service, help for the non-English speaking elderly, publicity and outreach efforts, and transportation to places where services are provided.
The report outlined specific areas of concern in health, transportation, nutrition, recreation, education, housing and income maintenance and employment.
According to the commission's findings, about 125 per cent of Alexandria's residents last year were 60 years of age or older.