In order to expand choices for parents seeking child care, Johns Hopkins has partnered with Komae, a cooperative child care app that helps families identify others with whom to trade care at no cost. This new addition to the university's other tools for finding child care—such as Care@Work, Family Network, and mySupport—fills in the gap for families seeking flexible child care on their own. Komae enables users to identify families with similar parenting styles and COVID-19 hygiene practices to share child care and supervision of remote learning.
To use this free service, simply download the Komae app on your mobile device. From there, you can join the Hopkins group and begin connecting with other Hopkins families looking to share care. Once registered, you will receive an initial balance of points to receive care from others in your community; points are swapped between families to provide and receive care. For families with demanding work schedules who may be unable to provide reciprocal child care, Komae gives the option of purchasing points to use for care. Alternatively, for those who are able to care for others, Komae offers an option to cash in points for rewards such as parenting products and gift cards.
Here's how to get started:
Step 1: Download the Komae app and create your account. In your bio, share information about your family and the type of care you need and can provide; you also can specify the safety measures you are taking to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Step 2: Join the Hopkins group. Johns Hopkins has partnered with Komae to administer groups specifically for members of the Hopkins community to connect with each other. You also can create and be part of as many other groups as you like, so you can have smaller hubs of colleagues, friends, and family.
Step 3: Make your first post. When you post a need on Komae, your network will be notified. Anyone who is available can offer to help. Watch for those offers to come in and choose the one that's best for you and your schedule. If you are able to offer care to other families, be sure to post an availability.
Additional information can be found on the Finding Child Care page of the university's HR website. While on the site, check out the other benefits and resources available to you. If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-516-2000. You also can reach out directly to the Komae team with any questions you or your family may have at email@example.com.
Komae is made stronger by the number of people who participate, so be sure to spread the word and invite your colleagues, friends, and family to build a larger network of care providers.