Ferrell Hospital recently received grant funding to open a free childcare center
for their employees, helping to meet the need for emergency child care. Harrisburg Medical Center
employees are also able to enroll their children in this temporary service, as well.
“Our employees are on the frontline of this pandemic, and with that comes sacrifice. They are coming
in and caring for our communities despite needing to find alternative care for their children, as
schools have been out of session and day cares have been closed,” said Alisa Coleman, CEO, Ferrell
Hospital. “Having our own childcare center, and now this financial assistance, will alleviate some of
the mental and financial burden.”
Partial funding for this emergency childcare is through the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network
(ICAHN), which received a $500,000 grant through the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation
(ILCHF). Ferrell Hospital is one of many critical access hospitals across the state that has received
part of this grant, through the ICAHN’s Essential Hospital Staff Child Care Support (EHSCCS)
“These next months will be challenging, and we are grateful that ILCHF understands the trying times
rural areas are facing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Pat Schou, ICAHN Executive Director.
“Their generosity will help many rural hospital workers, from dietary to business office, nursing to
The EHSCCS Initiative is reimbursing hospitals that open their own childcare centers, working in
collaboration with another community or religious organization to open state of emergency childcare
centers. The center at Ferrell Hospital is located on the campus of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, with
permission from the Diocese of Belleville. Eldorado School District #4 is also supporting the
initiative by providing meals and other guidance and support.
“Children ages 2-12 are receiving care from teachers trained in early childhood education,” said
Coleman. “Additionally, we are utilizing the stringent child care safety protocols as recommended by
the CDC, including daily temperature screenings, extensive disinfection, and maintaining the same
small groups of children each day.”
ICAHN is a not-for-profit organization established in 2003 for the purpose of supporting Illinois
critical access and small, rural hospitals with educational resources, support services, technical
assistance on hospital operations and rural health programs, and providing opportunities for peer
group sharing of information and connectivity.
ILCHF’s single vision is that every child in Illinois grows up healthy. Working through grantee
partners across the state like ICAHN, the Foundation focuses its grant-making on identifying and
funding solutions to the barriers that prevent children from accessing the ongoing health care they