Chicago Teachers Strike: Where to find child care with CPS classes canceled

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Monday, October 21, 2019
Chicago Teachers Strike 2019: Where to find child care with CPS classes canceled
Many parents of Chicago Public Schools students are scrambling to find safe and affordable child care during the teachers strike.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Public Schools has announced that classes will be canceled Monday after the teachers strike that began Thursday carried on through the weekend.

The district announced on Twitter that schools will be closed Monday as negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union continue. The closures leave many parents again scrambling to find safe and affordable child care.

Last week, Abbey Hambright brought her 7-year-old son to work with her when schools were closed due to the strike.

"It's such a scramble to try to find some place to put him," said Hambright, a marketing director for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. "We didn't feel comfortable sending him to school even though I know they have some activities at the schools."

With no family in town and the costs of some care options, Hambright said she doesn't know what she'll do if the strike drags on.

"School equity is super important to us," Hambright said. "It's a challenge for parents and hopefully it will be worth it in the end, but it is definitely stressful."

There are a number options for parents to send their children with CPS teachers on strike.

The Breakthrough community organization helped care for nearly 100 students when the strike began last week.

"Nobody wants a long strike," said Arloa Sutter, Breakthrough's executive director. "We'll be here for the families and children as long as necessary."

Some parents sent their children to one of the open Chicago Public School buildings.

At Bronzeville Classical School, students received meals, activities and supervision.

But others had no option but to stay home with their child, and many may have to rely on family and friends.

Some workplaces are stepping up to help parents out. A few companies have set up strike camps.

For those looking for child care arrangements, here are some of the options.

The Chicago Public Schools teacher strike Thursday has forced many parents to find child care alternatives.


The City and Chicago Public Schools have a contingency plan for the teachers strike.

CPS school buildings will be open during their normal bell schedule. Students are encouraged to go to their regular school, but all students will be welcome at any public school appropriate for their age.

All CPS schools will serve breakfast and lunch to students. All after-school activities are canceled. Administrative staff will be assigned to schools as needed.

School transportation services will not be available. Charter and contract schools will continue to operate as normal.

Parents are encouraged to register their children online. CPS said registration is not mandatory, but it does help them ensure they have enough staff and meals for children each day of a work stoppage.

Click here for more information on the CPS contingency plan.


The Chicago Park District is open and fully staffed to handle children if parents need childcare during the teachers strike. The following field houses are open and offering programs for kids:

Rosedale Park - 6312 West Rosedale Avenue

Margate Park - 4321 North Marine Drive

Riis Park - 6100 West Fullerton Avenue

Gompers Park - 4222 West Foster Avenue

Hamlin Park - 3035 North Hoyne Avenue

Warren Park - 6601 North Western Avenue

Taylor Park - 39 West 47th Street

Dvorak Park - 1119 West Cullerton Street

Columbus Park - 500 South Central Avenue

McKinley Park - 2210 West Pershin Road

Archer Park - 4901 South Kilbourn Avenue

Humboldt Park - 1400 North Humboldt Drive

Washington Park - 5531 South Martin Luther King Drive

Hamilton Park - 513 West 72nd Street

Ridge Park - 9625 South Longwood Drive

West Lawn Park - 4233 West 65th Street

Trumbull Park - 2400 East 105th Street

South Shore Cultural Center - 7059 South South Shore Drive

Maggie Daley Park, McFetridge Sports Center, Morgan Park Sports Center, Lincoln Park and Garfield Park Conservatories will also be open regular hours for the duration of any work stoppage, the Park District said.

Click here for more information from the Chicago Park District.

The Salvation Army is among the places in Chicago offering programming for children affected by the CPS teacher strike.


Chicago Public Libraries are open during normal hours while the teachers strike is ongoing. There is no cost associated with the public libraries.

Harold Washington Library Center and some regional locations open at 9 a.m., and individual branches open between 10 a.m. and noon. Parents can call 312-747-4300 for more information.

Parents can also use CPS's Site Locator to find the closest school, library, park or partner site for their children.


The YMCA has 10 locations serving Chicago Public Schools area, and is reminding parents that their early childhood education and after-school programming will continue to operate during any work stoppage.

"We are pooling all our resources to make sure that we are ready," said Man-Yee Lee of YMCA Metro Chicago.

The YMCA locations serving CPS's area are:

High Ridge YMCA: 2424 W. Touhy Ave., Chicago, IL 60645

Irving Park YMCA: 4251 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL 60641

Kelly Hall: 824 N. Hamlin Ave. Chicago, IL 60643

Lake View YMCA: 3333 N. Marshfield, Chicago, IL 60657

Leaning Tower YMCA: 6300 W. Touhy Ave., Niles, IL 60714

McCormick YMCA: 1834 N. Lawndale Ave., Chicago, IL 60647

Rauner Family YMCA: 2700 S. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60608

South Side YMCA: 6330 S. Stony Island, Chicago, IL 60637

West Communities YMCA: 6235 S. Homan Ave., Chicago, IL 60629

North Lawndale YMCA: 3449 W. Arthington, Chicago IL 60624

The Y is also offering their School Days Out program from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the strike on a first come-first serve basis at affordable rates. Parents should call 773-905-5115 for more information about the School Days Out program, including locations, prices and capacity.

More information YMCA of Metro Chicago is available at


The Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago offers a variety of programs for a variety of age groups at 19 locations throughout the city. Parents should contact the Boys and Girls Club in their area for more information about programs that are available in the event of a strike.

Click here for a full list of Boys and Girls Clubs locations and contact information

Click here for a full list of programs offered by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago


The Shedd Aquarium is offering Camp Shedd: CPS October, an extended educational program, for the duration of the Chicago Teachers Union strike. Camp will be offered on October 17, 18, 21, 22 and 23, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with aftercare included from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The cost of the program is $100, $90 for Shedd members. The aquarium said that in the event the strike ends and class resumes before all five days are completed, any pre-paid program fees will be refunded to the original method of payment.

Click here for more information.


The Beverly Arts Center will offer their "We Have Your BACk" Strike Camp, including pre-camp and after care. Click here for more details.


JCC will offer special School's Out programming on October 17-18.

The full-day programming and aftercare will be available at Hyde Park JCC in Hyde Park, Bernard Horowich JCC in West Rogers Park, Chicago Loop Synagogue in the Loop and Laugh Out Loud Theater in North Center.

The special program on Thursday, October 17, will be an international celebration and will allow students to explore food, music, games and festivals from around the world. Children will need to bring lunch and water.

The special program on Friday, October 18, will be Star Wars Day in which kids will make their own Star Wars crafts and light sabers. Children will need to bring lunch and water.

Click here for more information and to regster.


Public education advocates Raise Your Hand For Illinois Public Education is collecting resources for parents during the possible strike. Click here for their list of ideas for families during a CTU/SEIU strike.


The Hyde Park Neighborhood Club is offering a CTU Strike Camp for any parents who need child care during the strike. Morning and afternoon snacks are provided, but families must pack their own lunch.

Strike Camp lasts from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $55 per day. Aftercare is available from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for an additional $15.

A $10 nonrefundable registration fee is required to hold each child's slot.

Any children currently enrolled in HPNC's after-school program can enroll in a full day of Strike Camp, from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for $45 a day. UChicago Medical Center employees are also eligible for a discounted rate of $35 a day, including aftercare through 6:30 p.m., and may drop their children off at 7 a.m. An employee ID is required at registration to confirm eligibility.

There is also a 10% sibling discount available for the second and third child living in the household with the registering parent or guardian.

Click here for more information and to register.


Loop Learning Center offers daily programming for infants through school-aged children, and they're planning to add more resources.

Click here for more information about hours, programming and contact information.


Facets is offering two special film day camps from October 17-18 for kids ages 9-13.

Kids will watch films from Facets Chicago International Children's Film Festival and also learn about filmmaking and film review.

The camps will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both at Facets, 1517 W Fullerton Ave.

The camp will provide a mid-morning snack and afternoon popcorn, but kids are asked to bring a packed lunch as well as a notebook and two pencils.

The cost of the camp $20 a day for the general public and $15 a day for Facets members.

For more information, visit


The Salvation Army is offering programs for children affected by the strike.

Freedom Center West Humboldt Park

825 N. Christiana Avenue, Chicago


Hours: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Cost: Free

Meals: Light breakfast, lunch and snack

Chicago Lawn Corps

5950 S. Spaulding Avenue, Chicago


Hours: 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Meals: Lunch

Cost: Free

The center can accommodate up to 50 children.

Red Shield Center- Englewood

945 W. 69th Street, Chicago


Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Meals: Lunch and two snacks.

Cost: Free

Center can accommodate up to 200 children.

Kroc Center

1250 W. 119th Street, Chicago


Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Meals: Lunch and snack

Cost: $15 daily charge, $50 weekly per-child.

Before school care is offered from 6-8 a.m. for an additional $20.

After-school care is offered from 3-6 p.m. for an additional $20.

For more information, visit


Marillac St. Vincent Family Services will be offering programming free of charge at it's East Garfield Park and Lincoln Park locations. Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and programming includes breakfast, lunch and a snack.

-Marillac Social Center (Marillac House) 212 S. Francisco Ave., Chicago

-St. Vincent De Paul Center- 2145 N. Halsted St., Chicago


Allen Metropolitan Christian Methodist Church

Cost: Free

Hours: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., plus scheduled

Address: 10946 S Lowe, Chicago IL

Contact: (773) 568-1200

Alliance For Community Peace

Cost: Free

Hours: 7:45AM - 3PM

Address 7740 S Eberhart Avenue

Contact: (773) 846-8831 745 - 3

St. Sabina

Cost: Free (Meals free as well)

Hours: 10AM - 7PM

Address: 1210 W 78th Place, Chicago IL

Contact: (773) 483-4300

Chicago Tabernacle

Cost: Free

Hours: 7:30A - 3P

Address: 3231 N Cicero Avenue

Contact: (773) 583-7344

Grace & Peace Community Church

Cost: Free

Hours: 10A-2P

Address: 1533 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL

Contact: (773) 489-5949

Heirs of Promise Ministries

Cost: Free

Hours: 10A - 2P

Address: 4821 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL

Contact: (773) 342-5377

Hope Community Advent

Cost: Free

Hours: 9:30A - 2P

Address: 5900 W Iowa St, Chicago, IL

Contact: (773) 921-2243

Jesus Word Center

Cost: Free

Hours: 9A - 3P

Address: 4224 W 13th Street

Contact: (773) 762-2432

Maple Park United Methodist

Cost: Free (Breakfast & Lunch included)

Hours: 10A - 2P

Address: 11705 S Elizabeth, Chicago IL

Contact: (773) 928-5220

New Life Centers of Chicagoland

Cost: Free (Food included)

Hours: 10AM - 2P

Address: 3908 W Hirsch St, Chicago, IL

Contact: (312) 772-6675

Rock of Salvation

Cost: Free

Hours: 10A - 2P

Address: 5350 W Bloomingdale Ave, Chicago, IL

Contact: (773) 680-4836

Sembrando El Futuro

Cost: Free

Hours: 9A - 1P

Address: 1305 N Hamlin, Chicago Il

Contact: (773) 489-1562

Storehouse Church

Cost: Free

Hours: 8A - Noon

Address: 5701 W Montrose

Contact: (773) 853-2048

Woodlawn Baptist Church

Cost: Free

Hours: 7:30A

Address: 6207 S University

*Parents must sign a waiver if they are dropping kids off at this location.

(773) 643-0123

Greater Holy Temple C.O.G.I.C

Cost: Free

Hours: Open at 8am

Address: 246 N California Ave, Chicago, IL

(773) 722-9430