Earlier this week, the University of Wisconsin’s Office of Child Care and Family Recourses announced it will be making some changes regarding the care of mildly ill children and the provider of care and services.
In a statement, the OCCFR defined “mildly ill” as “children who are unable to attend their regular child care provider due to symptoms or illness.”
The university offers care services to mildly ill children of faculty, students and staff families.
“The service is targeted for students, faculty and staff who must attend work or class but whose child cannot attend their regular child care provider due to illness,” said Director of OCCFR Lynn Edlefson.
From 2011 to 2012, the program catered to 15 student families and 14 faculty and staff families who utilized the sick child care center, Edlefson said.
The university’s program for the care of mildly ill children began in 2000 and has experienced numerous changes since its start, she said.
According to Edlefson, care for mildly ill children was originally sought through Ginger Ail at Meriter Hospital. However, when Ginger Ail was shut down, OCCFR then signed with Interim Home Health Services in 2001.
She also noted, starting in 2006, care for mildly ill children was being provided by the Chicken Soup Center for backup care. According the OCCFR website, this care was given in a High-Efficiency Particulate Air filtered classroom on University Avenue.
The OCCFR has been offering an in-home model for child care for student parents since 2001. This in-home care will now extend to all university families, Edlefson said.
However, when OCCFR signed a contract with the Chicken Soup Center, the in-home model was removed. The in-home model of care has now been reinstated as the primary method for child care through OCCFR, Edlefson said.
According to the statement, the office recently made the decision to switch from the Chicken Soup program to Maxim Healthcare Services, which provides in-home care for the children involved in the program.
Edlefson said the termination of the Chicken Soup program arose because of low utilization and the lack of concern about non-immunized children in the center who may be ill.
Through Maxim Healthcare Services, care will now be provided for mildly ill children using an in-home model. Edlefson said using an in-home model will be different than the typical center-based model of child care.
“We have assured students, faculty and staff families that we have a resource for those that find themselves in need of this service,” Edlefson said. “We specifically did not want to close the sick center-based care without another option for those that need it.”
Edlefson assured recipients the biggest change will be in providers, not the actual care being given to children of these families.
OCCFR Parent Resource Specialist Jen Dittrich-Templin said she suggests families eligible for care for mildly ill children also look into the Kids-Kare program, which offers financial assistance to income-eligible students, faculty and staff and also determines a family’s eligibility for Maxim Healthcare Services care.