Hackensack Meridian will keep child care centers open

Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health will keep child care centers operated on-site at its hospitals open for the 2022-23 school year and beyond.

The health system confirmed the news in a statement shared with Becker's Aug. 30.

"We are evaluating long-term solutions that maintain on-site child care for our team members and ensure our operations are prepared for the future," the statement said.

In July, Hackensack Meridian announced plans to close child care centers, which have been open to health system employees and the broader community, due to costs. The organization later changed course amid pushback from parents and employees.

Now that Hackensack Meridian Health's child care centers will remain open, there could be higher tuition costs, executives said Aug. 29, according to the Asbury Park Press.  

Linda McHugh, executive vice president for Hackensack Meridian, told parents the health system is taking steps to keep the child care centers viable, including offering retention bonuses to current child care staff; recruiting to fill vacant positions; and offering employees referral bonuses, the newspaper reported.

At the same time, Ms. McHugh said Hackensack Meridian would continue to focus on professional development, enhanced curriculum material and more classroom resources needed to maintain child care centers.

"Our plan to continually invest in quality child care will also include tuition increases," she told parents, according to the Asbury Park Press. "We anticipate new rates will go into effect in early 2023."

Hackensack Meridian is a 17-hospital health system with more than 35,000 employees total. It operates child care centers at six of its hospitals. 

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