Resources for parents and caregivers during COVID-19

Balanced You understands the toll that this stressful and unprecedented time is taking on working parents and caregivers, and we want to make sure employees know there are resources available from King County to help you through this. A summary of these resources is below. If there’s anything else Balanced You can do to support you, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at balancedyou@kingcounty.gov.  

Financial resources

Many families’ finances have been affected by the pandemic due to either income reduction or unexpected costs for alternate childcare. The below resources may be of assistance for families facing financial difficulties.

  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs): FSAs allow you to set aside pre-tax money for day care and medical expenses. Visit this blog post for tips on how to make the best use of your FSA during the pandemic, including information on how to pay family members to provide childcare.
  • Free childcare for essential employees who live or work in King County: Essential employees who live or work in Seattle or King County can visit this website for more information on free childcare. Essential employees who live in Seattle can visit  this website for reduced-rate childcare. And essential employees who live in Burien can visit this website for vouchers to offset child-care costs.
  • Free childcare for essential employees who live in Pierce County: Essential employees who live in Pierce County can visit this website for financial assistance to pay for childcare.
  • Community and governmental financial resources: My Secure Advantage has developed a list of governmental resources that provide financial relief to families and need. Visit this blog post for a review of these resources

Support and counseling

If you could use help locating daycares or adult care, or if you or someone in your family would benefit from mental health support, check out the resources below.

  • Making Life Easier: Daycares in King County remain open at the time of publishing. If your job requires you to telecommute, and your children are ages five and under without a regular day or childcare center, contact Making Life Easier (MLE). MLE is a free resource for all King County employees that can assist you in locating and coordinating childcare. MLE also offers assistance identifying options for elder care support, as well as free counseling to anyone who shares your address. For more information, visit the Making Life Easier website.
  • Therapy via telehealth: Regence and Kaiser therapists and other healthcare providers can be accessed from the comfort and safety of your home via telehealth. For more information about telehealth, visit the King County telehealth webpage. For more information about continuing medical and other benefits following lay-off, visit the King County Benefits webpage.
  • Mental Health Resource Guide: For a more comprehensive list of King County employee and community mental health resources, review the Mental Health Resource Guide via this link.

Tips and resources

Balanced You has compiled a series of toolkits, articles, and webinars that include tips and resources for parents and caregivers navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. See below for a list and check our blog at www.kcbalancedyou.com often for new additions.

  • Resources for caregivers during COVID-19: This blog post includes information for caregivers of adults. View the blog post here.
  • You’re Still Parenting Through a Pandemic: A Guide for Sustaining Yourself and Your Family in a Changing Landscape: This guide from Making Life Easier includes information on how MLE services can support you and your family, tips for supporting remote learning at home, and more. Review the guide at this link. Username: King County.
  • Telecommuting with children at home: This blog post includes information for parents and caregivers who are commuting during the pandemic. View the blog post here.
  • Caring for children during COVID-19: This blog post includes information on how to help kids find structure and navigate their emotions during the pandemic. View the blog post here.  
  • Supporting kids through the pandemic: This on-demand webinar features Sarina Behar Natkin, LCSW a Seattle-based parenting coach, speaker, and author. During this webinar, she provides parents with tools and tips for how parents and caregivers can support their children and themselves while building resilience and increasing connection in the home. Listen to the webinar here.

Note: King County employees who are able to telecommute are permitted to do so while caring for children or family members. If needed, employees are encouraged to work with their supervisor or HR manager to develop an alternate work schedule that allows them to meet their family obligations where business needs allow for it.

If you cannot balance work and childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic, you have several leave options. If you have concerns about your leave balances, contact your HR Manager. For questions, comments, or more information, contact balancedyou@kingcounty.gov.

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