Thank you for your "Week of the Young Child" series in these pages last week. As we all come together to stop the spread of COVID-19, it is important to pause and thank — along with health professionals, grocery workers, delivery people and first responders — some other essential workers: the early childhood providers and educators who are finding creative ways to meet the needs of young children, even as schools and traditional child care centers have been shut down.


The organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids has identified several strategies to get children off to a good start in life and steer them away from crime. Among these are home-visiting programs that support new and expectant parents, and early intervention programs for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities. Providers of these important early-childhood services are now, with the support of state officials, reaching families through "live video visits" and other telehealth strategies.


In addition, many providers are stepping up to provide child care — in settings with small groups of children — for the families of our state’s essential workers. They have our gratitude. These child care options can be accessed by calling 888-228-1146 or visiting emergencycare.inccrra.org.


— Chief Daniel G. O’Shea, Rockford Police Department