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CORPORATE CHILD CARE

Cover Photo It's 3:30 on a Thursday afternoon. 6-year-old Garrett Peavley and his mom, Billie, are just starting a ritual that begins much earlier in the day for most families.

Billie is a single mom who works the graveyard shift as a team leader on Toyota's assembly line. Her hours are anything but kid-friendly. She starts work around 5 P.M. and gets off anywhere between 2 and 6 in the morning. This gives her few options for childcare. Luckily for Billie, families are one of Toyota's priorities, so when she heads off to work, her son goes too.

Garrett attends Toyota's 24-hour child development facility. Toyota opened the center in 1993. For working parents like Billie, it's been a godsend. It's convenient, but not inexpensive, as parents pay weekly fees on a scale that depends on the age of their child. While the fees are about average for childcare in the area, they don't cover the all of the center's costs. Toyota's reported initial investment was in the millions of dollars. Toyota continues pumping in untold amounts to support the center, which is managed by Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a public company based in Massachusetts.

Billie used to work the early shift, but when she was promoted she had to go back to working nights. She said, "Having the childcare center actually enabled me to be able to take this position. During the time that I was on first shift Garrett's father and I divorced, so had the childcare center not been there and I didn't have night time care for him, I wouldn't have been able to move into management and take this position." Garrett "has learned so much over there. I wish that I could say that I've been able to spend so much time with Garrett that I taught him to tie his shoes, or taught him to do some of the dexterity type things that he's learned, but honestly I didn't. He learned it over there."

Beth Renfro, from the Human Resources department at Toyota, says, "We have a lot of single mothers and fathers, and they have their children here. We might not have been able to recruit or retain those people without the center." 122 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 13 years attend the center's night shift.

Beth Mahan, Executive Director of the child development center, says, "We get them on the same shift as the parent. So when the parent picks them up they can spend quality time together and they can go to sleep and sleep all day and then wake up and spend more time together." Currently, only about half of the spots are filled during evening hours, but the center is at full capacity during the early shift, and hundreds more are waiting for a spot to open up.

In a poll conducted on this Web site, THAT MONEY SHOW asked you whether your company provided any childcare services. Here are the results from viewers like you:

Yes - On Premises. (20.8 %)

Yes - At my desk. (8.3%)

Yes - Off-site facility. (16.7%)

No - Company pays partial cost. (12.5%)

No - No help at all. (41.7%)




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