Many parents face the challenge of finding care for their kiddos before and after school. If a parent/caregiver works a typical 9-5 schedule (not including travel time), and school hours are usually somewhere between 9-3, there is a need for childcare and perhaps school transit for the kids. Here are some programs that I found that provide care during early morning and after school hours.
I learned about Champions through my kiddos’ elementary school: Ventura Park. Champions is a program that provides care for kids before and after school hours. They serve families with students in grades K-6. The prices vary depending on how many days a week and whether the care needed is before or after school. For a full 5 days, before school care is $44 per child weekly. For a full 5 days, after school care for one child is $66 per week. Initial registration fees are $50 or $75 per family. There is a “multi-child” discount of 10%. The other good news is that they accept DHS payments if the family is eligible. At Champions, kids are offered: homework help, healthy snacks, and various activities to choose from. Activities include art, library, science activities, math and construction, and puzzles and games. The website had my location entered in and read, “There are 46 sites near you”, so it seems there are many local options. Here is the link for more info: https://www.discoverchampions.com/.
Before and after school care is available for kiddos who are in grade levels kindergarten through middle school. The fees are based on a sliding scale. There are 4 options on the website for location areas: Beaverton, Portland, Hillsboro, or Tigard. Under each of those categories are available YMCA sites. To get an idea of the price, I clicked on one randomly. I chose “Portland” and the “Alameda” location. The quote read, “From $125” per week. Homework help, having support, and building friendships are the main focuses of this program. YMCA also offers some teen programs at no cost at the Clark County and Sherwood Regional centers. For more info, here is the link: https://www.ymcacw.org/.
Child Care Resource and Referral-
CCR&R is a huge resource to Oregonians. As a long-time educator and previous certified home daycare provider, I have worked with this organization for several years. They offer a plethora of resources to families and educators. This website would be a great place to start if you are looking for childcare before and after school. Not all the local daycare centers provide transportation to and from school, though, so I would be sure to filter that in if it is needed. There are options to call/email/text/ or peruse online through a link to look for childcare. Head to this link to start the process: https://ccrr-mc.org/261-2/.
There is an after-school program at Ainsworth Elementary school that allows any student K-5 to enroll. There are fees, but scholarships are available. Ainsworth aftercare association is a non-profit that is governed by a parent board of directors. They are a licensed daycare provider that is certified by the state of Oregon. The hours are 2:15-6:00 p.m. Cindy Lind is the listed contact for more info and enrollment forms; her phone # is: (503) 223-9744, or for more info, here is the website: https://ainsworthaftercare.com/. The program provides various activities, homework help, and some fluent Spanish-speaking teachers can help with homework—a wonderful program.
Care.com is a good place to search before and after school options because there are choices for what type of care you would like: a babysitter/nanny/tutor or a daycare center. A note at the bottom of the website states that families who hire nannies are now provided with tax breaks due to the American Rescue Plan. I also liked that there are detailed reviews on many of the employees that are available for childcare. If your family can afford to pay by the hour, care.com is a good place to look for before and after school help. Here is a link to their website: https://www.care.com/.
These centers provide before school, transportation to and from school, and after school care for kiddos aged K-6thgrade. Programs are available from approximately 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m. at most centers. There aren’t prices on the website, but if you are interested, it instructs you to “start a chat” with one of their professionals to find a center near you. I have worked for KinderCare in the past and will say that in my experience, the centers are well-organized, have a knowledgeable and caring staff, and are beautiful, fun places for kiddos. For more info, here is the link: https://www.kindercare.com/our-centers/portland/or.
There are plenty of other licensed and certified childcare centers that could be added to this list. There are tons of options here in Oregon. The center you choose will likely be influenced by several factors: price, proximity to home and work, reputation, the facility itself, the staff, etc. Adding filters for the type of care you need, how much you would like to spend, and other factors will help you select a choice that works for your family. Another important thing to consider is financial aid if needed. Oregon has a program called ERDC (Employment Related Daycare Program). This program helps low-income families (who are working) with childcare costs. It is a subsidy program, which means the family contributes money as well as the ERDC payment. The amount paid by the family is usually calculated considering all their expenses and how much money is left over in their monthly earnings. For more info on ERDC, head to this link: https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/assistance/child-care/Pages/index.aspx.
We all need a little help sometimes. Before and after school care can be a huge challenge for some working families. Knowing that your child is being cared for in a fun, safe, engaging space for those few extra hours that you’re working brings huge peace of mind. Best of luck to you all in finding a wonderful, safe space for before and after school care for your kiddos.
Stephanie McCoy was born and raised in Portland, Oregon-where she still lives. She recently graduated with a Master’s in Education degree from Concordia University. In her free time: she likes to read and write, get outdoors, embrace her kiddos and husband, and watch travel documentaries.