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Downey Extends Pilot Day-Care Service

June 15, 1989|ROCHELLE WILKERSON | Times Staff Writer

DOWNEY — A pilot program of extended day care that began this spring at Imperial Elementary School has been extended for another year by the City Council.

The city funded staff positions and nutritional, recreational and tutorial supplies for the extended-care program at Imperial, Downey's largest elementary school,

Downey School Board President Margo Hoffer said affordable child care is also the issue.

"I think there is a need for low-cost child care. These are not families that are using the YMCA. Hopefully we will keep it and extend it to other schools," she said.

Councilman Randall Barb said: "I still believe the program is better in the hands of the school board and not us."

Community Services Director Jim Jarrett said about 24 children made use of the after-school care. Fees ranged from $12 to $22 a week.

Jarrett said attendance in the program is growing each week, and he expects to have 50 openings available in the fall.

Children in kindergarten through fifth grade were offered the extended care. They were escorted to the school library after dismissal of regular school. There they completed homework assignments, read, and played cards and other quiet games.

A 1986 study conducted by United Way, entitled "School is Out in L.A.," noted that Downey had a need for 2,225 spaces for care of the children, but there was only room for about 300 children in the five centers in the city.

City Social Services Manager Alta Duke, who as committee member reported to the council on the benefits of the program in its early stage, said Downey has many private day-care facilities, but there is a need for more extended day-care services.

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