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Center Watches Kids When Day Care Plans Fail

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Royce Lanham can see his daughter more often now that the Burbank ChildrenFirst Center is open.

“It was such a relief to have this,” he said, bouncing his 5-month-old daughter, Christina, on his lap at the center’s grand opening Monday. “I don’t ever want to let her go, so it’s nice to have her close by,” he said.

Lanham’s baby sitter was unavailable for two weeks. ChildrenFirst, at 115 N. Hollywood Way, is designed for exactly such cases. The center, which serves eight area companies, provides temporary “backup” care for employees whose regular child care falls through.

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Lanham pays $15 a day to leave his daughter at the center, less than what he normally pays his sitter, he said.

And, he added, he can walk over on breaks from his job at Warner Bros. Studios to see her.

Company executives said the center provides employees with flexibility and economic savings. When regular day-care falls through, many employees have to stay home with their children, said Ken Kahrs, executive vice president of human resources with Universal Studios.

By offering backup day-care, the center gives those employees another alternative, Kahrs said.

ChildrenFirst, which has two other locations in Southern California and 25 nationwide, saves its clients $2 to $5 for every dollar they spend on its services, company executives said.

The Burbank center can accommodate about 40 children per day, from ages 3 months to 13 years. Fees vary for the different client companies, officials said.

The area companies served by the center are Warner Bros. Studios, Universal Studios, MTV Networks, NBC Studios, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Viacom Inc., Warner Music Group and the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis.

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