Greg Cox, District 1; Dianne Jacob, District 2; Kristin Gaspar, District 3; Nathan Fletcher, District 4, Jim Desmond, District 5.

The Board of Supervisors took another step Tuesday toward a possible child care center for San Diego County employees at the county’s Kearny Mesa facility.

Based on a proposal from Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, supervisors voted unanimously for a feasibility study of the plan for the County Operations Center, located at 5520 Overland Ave.

The board also voted unanimously to receive a separate report on the possibility of a county facility hosting a child care program.

“As one of the largest employers in our region, we have the opportunity to both expand the capacity of our child care system and provide an important benefit to our employees,” Gaspar said in a statement. “I would like to thank my colleagues for their unanimous support of child care for our working families.”

In late January, supervisors directed Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer to look at county employee locations, including the Operations Center and the Administration Center at 1600 Pacific Highway. Staffers were also directed to survey employees, and consider possible federal and state funding opportunities, although county employees are generally ineligible for such funding based on their income level.

Creating a child care center “would require significant capital investment by the county or in partnership with a qualified provider,” either through new construction or by repurposing office space in a county building, according to information on the Tuesday board agenda.

During the board meeting, Gaspar said a recent report found that 15% of employees expressed interest in on-site childcare. “We’re facing a child care shortage in the county,” she added.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, “it’s likely telework policies will continue into the future, and office space needs will be reduced,” Gaspar told her colleagues.

She added that for an estimated $2 million, “we could have a great facility at the county Operations Center.”

Board Chairman Greg Cox said he was glad to see a preliminary report on a child care center for county workers. “This is a great idea,” he added.

— City News Service

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