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On-Site Childcare Part Of Pittsburgh's 2019 Budget Proposal

Kathleen J. Davis
90.5 WESA
3-year-old Maya Hershkovich and 4-year-old Kirin Amin play with stamps during one of Flexable's pop-up childcare events on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018.

The City of Pittsburgh wants to allocate nearly $44,000 in its 2019 budget to on-site childcare, which would be provided for those who attend public meetings throughout the year. It will also be available to city employees during 15 days that schools are closed and city offices are open.

In its proposal the city outlines spending $568 million on operating expenses, which include public safety, street paving and personnel costs. 

Pittsburgh's Early Childhood Manager Tiffini Simoneux said a pilot childcare program that took place earlier this year was successful. There were two separate days of on-site childcare for city employees, and in both instances about 15 children were cared for.

"We did get some really good anecdotal information from families saying that if they did not have childcare on site at the City County Building that they would have taken that day off," Simoneaux said.

Simoneaux said the push for on-site childcare is a way for the city to eliminate barriers to participating in public discourse.

"When we hold a large public safety meeting, we make sure that we hold them in different areas of the city so they're accessible via public transportation," she said. "And childcare is another accessibility issue."

The childcare will be outsourced to Flexable, a Pittsburgh-based company that does pop-up childcare events on location -- for example, in a conference room at the office.

Simoneaux said if the funding is approved, it would be a one-time allocation, so she's unsure if this program will go beyond 2019.

Mayor Bill Peduto will formally introduce the budget to City Council in November, and Council will hold hearings on the budget proposal in November and December.