After nine months as an “unofficial employee” at DCYF, 1-year-old Zoë was joined by colleagues last month during her graduation from DCYF’s Infants at Work Program.
The Infants at Work Program allows eligible DCYF staff to spend time with their infants within the first six months of their life while continuing to work.
"Infants at Work provides a positive work/life balance, honors the employee’s contribution to the agency, supports parent and infant bonding, parental well-being and healthy infant development,” said DCYF’s Chief Human Resource Officer Marcos Rodriguez.
Erin Rains, Zoë’s mother and DCYF’s Training and Development Unit Supervisor, participated in a pilot up to 12-months of age in the Infants at Work Program, following her maternity leave. Zoë was one of the first babies to participate in the program at DCYF.
“It was about balance,” explained Rains, who adds she is lucky that Zoë is a sweet baby with a good nature. “It really depends on your work environment; I was able to do my work with the support from my designated caregivers.”
Between April and December, Zoë attended meetings with her mom, spent time in her cubicle and interacted with her coworkers, known as caregivers who volunteer to care for the infant during work hours when the parent is unavailable.
“My boss would say she was like a service baby, she had a calming effect on my colleagues,” Rains said.
During the Dec. 31 graduation, Rodriguez thanked Zoë for her participation in the program and presented her with a certificate.
“It is an honor to join with friends and colleagues in sending my warmest wishes on your first birthday,” he said. “You have brought us joy and happiness during your tenure. Your parents are lucky to have you, as you are to have them and we thank them for sharing many precious moments with you.”
DCYF’s Infants at Work Program administrative policy has been in effect since July 1, 2018. The program is in line with recommendations from the Child Care Collaborative Task Force, which develops policies and recommendations to incentivize employer-supported child care and improve child care access and affordability for employees. DCYF is a member of the task force.