The United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, a Portland non-profit working to end childhood poverty, has created a program to help working parents by allowing them to bring their infants to work up until their child is six months old or begins to crawl.

The United Way launched the program, “Infant at Work,” with the goals of helping parents return to work sooner, reducing daycare costs, increasing bonding between parents and children, lowering stress, and increasing working parents’ productivity.

Thuy Bechard is the first employee of the United Way to use the Infant at Work program, and it has proven to be beneficial for her. Bechard gave birth to her son, Makai, in February and has been able to return to work six weeks later. This has allowed Bechard to catch up on her work sooner.

The Infant at Work program aims to combat childhood poverty by supporting working parents.

Rekah Strong, vice president of United Way explains how the program is necessary for helping children, “What we know is that kids who have great, stable environments initially in life will have great outcomes.”

The Infant at Work program offers comprehensive support for working parents, including a “Ma and Pa Shop,” a room designed for parents to take care of their children in a private setting while working. In addition, co-workers sign up to take care of the infant while the parent is on break or in a meeting.

This program has been a great help to Bechard, who comments, “I guess I feel like I’m in the right place with the right people working here.”

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.