County employees in Ventura will be offered guaranteed day care for their young children starting in March.
County supervisors Tuesday approved a lease for an east Ventura building that will serve 50 children, aged 2 through 6.
Officials hope the preschool will help the county recruit new workers and retain the ones it has, said Supervisor Madge Schaefer, one of the program's primary advocates.
"It is the county being responsive to employees in ways other than salaries, which we can't afford to do a lot of times," she said.
The county will lease the former Richard's Preschool at 15 S. Petit Ave. for $4,200 per month. Employees will pay about $70 a week per child, said Debra Bergevin, the county's child-care coordinator.
One supervisor will be on hand for every eight children, compared to the more common state-required ratio of one supervisor for every 12 children, Bergevin said.
The county now will concentrate on setting up day-care operations to serve its employees in Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard and Port Hueneme, Bergevin said. The county also wants to establish day care for infants.
It already operates the Hickory Dickory Doc day-care center for mildly ill children. And the county buys 15 guaranteed spaces for children 2 to 5 years old through a joint agreement with Santa Paula schools.
A survey of employees at the Ventura Government Center showed that 50 spaces would be enough, Bergevin said. However, should fewer employees than expected sign up, the county likely would offer the extra spaces to a private employer in the city.