Hackensack Meridian Health to end onsite child care due to costs

Hackensack Meridian Health plans to close child care centers operated onsite at its hospitals on Sept. 30, the Asbury Park Press reports. 

The Edison, N.J.-based health system told employees that child care centers, which have been open to both Hackensack Meridian employees and the broader community, have become too expensive to offer and aren't sustainable. Employees were notified of the plans for permanent closure via letter distributed by the system July 21. 

Hackensack Meridian referred parents to the New Jersey Department of Human Services to find alternatives. "We are committed to smooth, seamless transitions for all," the system's letter read, according to the local report. "Once you have secured new child care arrangements, please let us know of your last day at the center."

Some families have started and signed a petition urging Hackensack Meridian to reconsider its decision, which the system said was reached after considering alternatives and partnerships. Petition organizers note the benefit wasn't free for employees or much more affordable than other centers, but provided a safe environment that was convenient for healthcare workers with unusual schedules. 

Hackensack Meridian Health shared the following statement with Becker's

"After deliberate and careful consideration of all options, we have determined that it is in the best interest of our patients and communities to focus our efforts on our core mission of patient care. Additionally, staffing has also been a major challenge at the child care centers. Therefore, we are closing our child care operations, effective September 30, 2022. We are committed to minimizing any disruptions and ensuring a smooth transition for our team members and our childcare families. Hackensack Meridian Health will provide a six-month subsidy to impacted team members. Additionally, the network has arranged a discount with a major childcare provider."

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