Non-profit offers care to help battle pandemic, help women disproportionately affected
When Annie’s Place opened in November 2020, it was the first drop-in childcare facility to offer safe, loving childcare to the children of parents of children battling a health crisis, free of charge. Now, through a special grant from The Moody Foundation, that care will also be available to children of people getting a COVID-19 vaccine, those volunteering for vaccine clinics, and first responders on the front line of the pandemic.
“Our mission is to provide childcare, community and compassion to parents or other caregivers facing a health crisis,” said Natalie Boyle, founder and CEO of Mommies In Need, the non-profit organization that operates Annie’s Place. “We were thrilled that our generous partners in philanthropy also recognized that people on the front lines of this pandemic were also in need and could be helped through an organization like ours.”
Annie’s Place, the first drop-in childcare center from Mommies In Need, is located on the campus of Parkland Hospital. Annie’s Place can care for up to 36 children per day (a number well under capacity to create appropriate distancing precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic), allowing their moms, dads or other legal guardians to receive treatment or to help battle the pandemic. The 4,200-square-foot facility offers care on both a licensed and exempt basis under State of Texas laws, allowing the specially-trained teachers and staff to also provide care for children of first responders, including fire, police, EMS and front-line clinical staff; as well as for people volunteering at a vaccine clinic or going to receive a vaccine themselves. Care is available on a reservation-only basis, and can be accessed by visiting www.MommiesInNeed.org.
“So many are battling this pandemic, and we’re honored to be able to help by offering care in a dedicated facility with specially-trained teachers,” Boyle added. “Because we know that this pandemic disproportionately affects women--particularly moms--it’s important that we offer this care to do our part to help.”
Studies have found that lack of quality childcare is the number-one reason that most women miss important medical appointments. Many moms will delay or forego treatment entirely when faced with finding a safe place to keep their child. Since its founding in 2014, Mommies In Need has provided thousands of hours of in-home care, virtual baby-sitting and now in-person care through a licensed facility with the opening of Annie’s Place in November 2020.
Annie’s Place is staffed by teachers who receive special training, including trauma-informed care, to provide for the needs of a child whose parent is experiencing a health crisis. Ongoing training for teachers and staff happens on a monthly basis, with additional modules on hospice care, stress management and play therapy, caring for children with special needs and personal professional development skills as part of the ongoing curriculum. Teachers and staff have also completed COVID-specific training through the State of Texas to be prepared to create a safe and supportive environment for children during the pandemic. In addition, the strict infection prevention procedures that were already in place for the facility were taken to new levels in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mommies In Need is a non-profit organization that relies on the generous support of compassionate individuals, foundations and businesses that recognize the value of the services Mommies In Need provides to families. Among its many supporters are The Moody Foundaiton, The Crystal Charity Ball, The Simmons Sisters Fund at the Dallas Foundation, The Constantin Foundation, Hamon Charitable Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, The Moody Foundation and Perot Foundation, as well as in-kind partners The Beck Group and Winstead PC.
More information about Mommies In Need is available on its website and through its Facebook and Instagram.