Irvine’s Kids Need You! City of Irvine Seeks Applicants for Four Positions on Child Care Committee!

The Irvine Community Services Commission is accepting applications to fill two government, civic, or community agencies vacancies, and two child care provider vacancies on the Irvine Child Care Committee.

There is a serious child care crisis in Irvine.  At present, nearly 2,500 Irvine families do not have adequate child care. Irvine will need an additional 4,551 child care spaces by 2035, due to the increase in housing development and the concomitant increase in the number of families with young children moving to Irvine.

As a member of the Irvine City Council, I have made it a priority to increase childcare and early childhood education opportunities in Irvine. By volunteering to serve on the Irvine Child Care Committee, you can serve our community and help me and others work to alleviate our childcare crisis.

The Irvine Child Care Committee is a 15-member advisory body to the Irvine Community Services Commission, and works cooperatively with the Irvine Children, Youth, and Families Advisory Committee, Child Care Coordination staff, and Community Development to enhance the quality of childcare and school readiness in the City of Irvine.

Committee meetings  are held on the second Tuesday of January, March, May, September, October and November, from 9:00 am to 10:30 am at Heritage Park Community Center, or other designated Irvine location.

Staff and committee members will interview candidates in October 2017.  Following interviews, recommendations will be presented to the Community Services Commission for appointment effective January 2018.

Applications are available here, or at the Irvine Civic Center (on the 2nd floor in the Community Services Department), and at the Irvine Child Resource Center.

If you would like more information, please contact my Lead Council Executive Assistant, Allison Binder, at abinder@ci.irvine.ca.us.

Thanks!

Save a Life — Be a Water Watcher!

Summer is a time for fun in the water, especially here in Southern California.

But far too often this summer, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Fire Authority, I have received a notice that there has been another drowning or near drowning at our local swimming pools.

Irvine Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson with Water Watcher Tag.

The news was particularly devastating this past Sunday: A 5-year-old girl was drowned in an Irvine swimming pool. She was found at 4:23 p.m. in a community pool at 120 Spring Valley.  Fire Captain Larry Kurtz said there were “lots of other kids in the pool when she was discovered” and that a nurse pulled her from the water and performed CPR.  It was too late.

Please, please, please be vigilant and assign a Water Watcher at all times near water, so these tragedies can be prevented!

Drownings occur without a sound, quickly and silently. Drowning continues to be the leading cause of accidental death among children age five and under. The majority of drowning and near drowning incidents occur in residential swimming pools and in open water sites. Drowning usually occurs quickly and silently.  Drownings and near-drownings can happen in a matter of seconds.

The good news is that drowning is 100% preventable!

To combat this needless tragedy, never swim alone and volunteer to be a Water Watcher.

A Water Watcher is a responsible adult who agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions, and to wear a Water Watcher tag.

The Water Watcher wears a tag stating:

Wearing this tag, I accept responsibility to supervise the children in and around the water, keeping them in sight at all times.  To prevent children from drowning, I’ll avoid distractions such as talking on the phone, reading, or poolside chats.  Before I leave the area, I will give this tag to the next adult water watcher who can swim.”

After a certain amount of time (such as 15-minutes), the Water Watcher card is passed to another adult, who is then responsible for the active supervision.

Water Watcher tags are available at your nearest Orange County Fire Authority Fire Station.

You can also call OCFA at 714-573-6200.

If you’re in Irvine, I will bring Water Watcher tags to you. Send me an email at mefox@cityofirvine.org.

Drowning is preventable.  Let’s prevent it from happening in our communities.

Let’s make Irvine the nation’s Safest City for Swimming!

 

 

Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson Asks Irvine Parents about Their Childcare Needs

Guest article by Lauren Johnson, Irvine Community Services Commissioner

Hello Irvine Moms and Dads!

What kind of waiting periods are you facing right now for childcare and preschool in Irvine?

What kinds of improvements do you want to see in the availability of childcare and preschool in Irvine?

As a Community Services Commissioner and Co-Chair of the Irvine Children, Youth and Families Committee, Lauren Johnson Norris has spoken with numerous parents who are experiencing significant waiting lists to access childcare.

Parents are being advised to apply for childcare and get on waiting lists while they are expecting a child and still report waiting several months to a year to secure a spot for their child. Infant care has been identified as the most challenging childcare to secure, especially considering the important low provider-to-child ratio mandated by state law. Some Irvine parents report putting their families on lists and simply never hearing of an opening.

The consequence of the Irvine childcare gap is that families are forced to make unanticipated career and financial decisions. Parents report having to make the sometimes difficult decision to have one parent stay home, even where the families was previously a dual-income family.

Statistically, it is increasingly difficult to return to the workforce the longer a worker is away.

In addition, the result is not only lost income while the child is infancy, but potentially for years to come. For a single parent, the situation is even worse — and may be untenable if family care or care outside the city is unavailable.

A critical part of any thriving community is safe, professional, reliable, and affordable preschool and child care. Preschool has been shown to positively affect children’s social skills and prepare them for the rigors of K-12. Children who miss the opportunity for preschool because of inadequate childcare in a community start kindergarten at a disadvantage. Ultimately, the negative effects unavailable or inadequate preschool or childcare extend beyond individual children and families to the community as a whole.

It is time to address the shortage of childcare for families in Irvine. Increased childcare through designated private sites as part of an overall city development plan, access to childcare in houses of worship, and the option of city early childhood education must be part of this plan. Too many families are waiting for these solutions.

What kind of waiting periods are you facing right now for childcare and preschool in Irvine?

What kinds of improvements do you want to see in the availability of childcare and preschool in Irvine?

Send your information to me at laurenjohnson78@gmail.com.