Countywide : Board OKs Fees for Ill Children's Center

Parents of some sick children now can continue working while their children are being cared for in an innovative county child-care center.

The Board of Supervisors adopted a fee structure Tuesday for private and public employers who want to use the center for mildly ill children.

Known as the Hickory Dickory Doc Child Care Program, the center was designed to serve the children of county employees. However, the program seldom has exceeded half of the center's capacity of 15 children.

The fee schedule, which was adopted unanimously, will allow other workers to use the facility, which is located at the Ventura County Medical Center.

Employers will pay an annual fee, plus an hourly rate of $3 for the time each child spends at the center. Under the proposed fee structure, companies with one to 25 employees would pay $250 a year. Companies with 26 to 50 employees would pay $500, while those with 51 to 75 employees would pay $750.

County officials said several local employers who want to use the center have formed the Alliance for Child Care Solutions. The alliance includes such businesses as Bank of A. Levy, First Interstate Bank, J.C. Penney and Mervyn's.

Also included in the alliance are the Ventura Unified School District and the city of Ventura, officials said.

"I think they are going to be lined up" to use the program, Supervisor Susan K. Lacey said.

Supervisor Maggie Erickson Kildee said she believes that the new fee schedule will make the center a "revenue producer rather than a drain on the county."

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