Press Release

Release Date: June 27, 2006

Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • Sick Child Care Groundbreaking

ADA-What do you do when your little one has the sniffles or is running a slight fever and you get that dreaded call from the daycare? Usually, parents must take time off from work to care for their mildly ill children.

The Chickasaw Nation has provided a solution for working parents. It is called The Chickasaw Nation Sick Child Care Center.

It is the first child care center in the state designed to care for mildly sick children that, under state guidelines, would otherwise have to go home.

“The Chickasaw Nation is setting a precedent,” said Lisa Blackmon-Hansard, the tribal program specialist for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. “There is nothing like it in the state.”

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby is excited that the Chickasaws are pioneering a new frontier. He said he believes the sick child care facility will benefit the whole community.

“Parents lose dollars and businesses lose productivity when parents are called to pick-up mildly ill children,” Gov. Anoatubby said at the sick child care center groundbreaking on June 26.

Lisa John, Chickasaw Nation Education Administrator, said local businesses and schools are already partnering with the nation to use the facility and reduce absenteeism related to sick child care.

The need for sick child care is growing. Chickasaw Nation Child Care Director Michelle Key said families are just becoming more diverse. Key said only eight percent of households have a stay at home mom and a working dad. The rise in single parent families and families with both parents working outside the home create fewer options for parents with sick children. Additionally, Key said, the mobility of the population has resulted in fewer extended family members available to care for ill children.

In addition to reducing employee absenteeism and increasing employee productivity, Key thinks the sick child care center will have a positive effect on employee retention, morale and stress.

The Chickasaw Nation Sick Child Care Center is expected to be completed in October of this year. The 4100 square feet center will have six classrooms as well as a 780 square feet covered play area. It will also feature a drive thru drop off area and will be connected to the existing child care facility by a covered sidewalk. The facility will have six teachers to accommodate 30 children.

The center will also have a state-of-the-art air system that will allow each room to filter its own air, preventing air from being recycled throughout the building. The staff will also take precautions to prevent the spread of germs.