State establishes hotline for critical workers seeking child care options

[image courtesy NCDHHS]

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has partnered with the North Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral network to launch a hotline to provide child care options for children of critical workers who do not have access to typical care because of COVID-19 closures. 

Families who have flexible working arrangements are encouraged to stay at home with their children. Workers who need care may call 1-888-600-1685 to receive information about local options for children from infants through age 12. The hotline is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Child care is a critical service. People working on the front lines of the COVID-19 response need access to safe, quality child care so they can know their own children are being well cared for as they care for others,” said NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.

Care will be offered by child care providers who agree to meet updated health, safety and operational guidelines. Priority will be given to children of critical workers, which includes emergency and first responders, hospital staff, front-line health care providers, nursing and adult group home staff, child care program staff, food service staff and others working to keep our communities safe and healthy in response to COVID-19. Priority will also be given for care for children who are receiving child welfare services, homeless or in unstable or unsafe living arrangements. 

Yesterday, NCDHHS distributed updated health guidance to child care programs to best protect the health, safety and well-being of both the child care workforce and the children and families they serve. Child care providers will need to meet the new guidance to stay open.
The hotline will be staffed by CCR&R, which partners with the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education and the fourteen NC CCR&R regions to support a strong child care resource and referral system statewide.

For more information, please visit the NCDHHS website at, which includes regular updates on COVID-19 in North Carolina. You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at