Parents concerned about child care during DPS teachers strike

DENVER -- Mayor Michael Hancock said parks and recreation centers will extend hours to help deal with child care issues when Denver Public Schools teachers strike beginning Monday.

The school district said that while it hopes to keep all schools open, early childhood programs will be closed.

The Boys and Girls Club of Denver says it is also preparing to help families looking for options.

Ernesto Martinez has six kids attending DPS schools. When FOX31 and Channel 2 spoke with him before a strike was certain, he said he was worried about what will happen in the event of a strike.

"It's going to make it hard because I work for myself, but now, I'm going to have to take care of them and possibly miss finances," Martinez said.

Help could come from Highlands United Methodist Church. It already has a licensed preschool program in place.

"I certainly believe there will be a need, especially among single parents who do hourly work who don't have vacation days or the ability to work from home. They don't have that kind of flexibility," said Pastor Bradley Laurvick.

Highlands United Methodist says it wants to make room for at least 30 kids in the DPS early childhood program.

Laurvick says he wants to make the church's school meet all licensing requirements.

He decided to try to help after seeing churches in other states reach out during teacher strikes.

Paying for child care is out of the question for the Martinez family.

"We might have to have my mom watch them because we can't afford a daycare for all of them. We have a lot of kids," Martinez said.

The pastor tells FOX31 he’s heard from DPS teachers who say they’ll come and work with kids at the church after they picket in the mornings. He also said the program would be free and funded by donations.

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