Cleo, a parenting company, is working with the on-demand childcare service UrbanSitter to solve a problem many parents face in the midst of the pandemic: lack of childcare, even when they have to return to work. With summer camps, daycare centers, and schools closed for the coming months, parents who have to work outside the home (or even inside, but without distraction) no longer have options. Cleo’s new solution, Cleo Care, supported by UrbanSitter, aims to address this problem. The company offers employers a package to connect families with certified carers through concierge support or alternatively with family collaboration options, depending on parents’ preference.
The program also includes access to other Cleo support programs such as individual coaching and age-appropriate programs that focus on development milestones and are offered weekly.
The new product is launched at a time when the outbreak of coronavirus in the United States has led to a childcare crisis. Working parents have become teachers at school alongside their already overwhelming number of tasks. However, parents who are lucky enough to be able to work from home are constantly interrupted by children̵
Cleo surveyed its membership base in April 2020, of which approximately 80% are located in the United States, and found that more than 50% of those surveyed had no childcare options due to the impact of the pandemic. It was also found that one in five families (with two parents) is considering a partner leaving the workforce to manage childcare. Meanwhile, 37% considered moving in the family.
More than half of the employees believed that their productivity was 75% or less than usual. And one in four believed that their productivity was less than 50% of the baseline.
The problem is massive. In the United States alone, there are 30.5 million working families based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Cleo Care solution will be made available to US employers this month to offer parents more options and help employers get their employees back to work in due course.
Of course, there are different opinions about how and when the US should reopen its economy. The reality is, however, that some parents will have to return to work before reopening daycare centers or summer camp programs, many of which have been canceled. In Facebook groups, parents are already trying to solve the problem for themselves by organizing childcare cooperatives with neighbors or hiring teenagers or students for babysitting jobs during the day.
But not everyone has these options. And employers can’t just direct employees to Facebook to find a caregiver.
Instead, the Cleo Care program offers concierge support to the parents of the member in the search for certified care providers from the UrbanSitter Network. Or if the families prefer to work with neighbors, the solution can also offer network members who are interested in co-op solutions.
These functions are new at UrbanSitter, which has never offered co-matching before and makes the new concierge service exclusively for Cleo Care.
“As working mothers are desperately looking for a solution to the crisis parents are facing today, we have focused on developing a solution that works not only for our members and corporate customers, but also for ourselves. After everything After experimenting and trying, from virtual childcare to planning shifts to finding new caregivers, we found that the only solution that would work for families would require a new model of childcare that addresses the unique problems that COVID-19 created, ”said Cleo, CEO Sarahjane Sacchetti.
Sacchetti, the former chief marketing officer of Collective Health, took over from Cleo after his original co-founder Shannon Spanhake was ousted due to corporate culture issues and a fake resume. Since then, Cleo has expanded its business through numerous partnerships, including partnerships with Natalist, Milk Stork, Playfully, Dadi and others.
The solution is being piloted with major US employers, the company said. International employers get access to their Cleo Kids coaching solution while Cleo is looking for partnerships with provider networks outside the United States.
Employers pay a combined monthly membership fee for access to Cleo Kids and UrbanSitter, as well as one-time matching fees for coop matching or matching and arranging care providers if they are used by a family. Cleo says it works with employers to study models to cover part of the matching costs that can be supported if an employer offers an FSA for dependent care.
You can find a registration form here.
Photo credit: Cleo