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Published: Friday, 7/1/2011

Library cuts summer baby-sitting classes

BY TRACI TILLMAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Young baby-sitters planning to take the six-hour course required to earn their baby-sitter's training certificate this summer will have to either travel to an alternate venue or wait until their next school break.

The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library has canceled all baby-sitting classes scheduled for July and August after the Greater Toledo Area Chapter of the American Red Cross told officials of a new national pricing structure that takes effect Friday.

The new standardized national fee is $85, an increase of $55 from the fee Toledo baby-sitters have paid.

The clinic, which offers basic child-care tips and emergency response methods, is offered through the library to teens age 11 to 15 during school holidays and summers.

Because the Red Cross was not implementing the price change until Friday, those registering for July and August classes at this point will pay the increase, while those who registered early paid the $30.

Officials at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library deemed the price discrepancy unfair and canceled all summer classes offered at the higher rate, Library Youth Services Manager Nancy Eames said. "If they took the class in June, everyone paid $30," she said. "We thought that [the discrepancy in July and August] was unfair, and frankly, we heard some complaints. It's a big jump."

The price increase is part of the American Red Cross' national restructuring effort, said Tim Yenrick, the executive director for the Greater Toledo Area Red Cross. To alleviate some of the financial strain it has experienced in the economy, the national organization has altered the way it provides services.

"Obviously dollars are very tight, and because of our disaster relief efforts and the increase in need in that area, we had to start looking at other [areas] to make sure we do everything we can to use donor dollars wisely," Mr. Yenrick said. "We can't subsidize the way we used to."

The change includes new technology that allows people to register for classes nationally rather than chapter-by-chapter.

The restructuring effort directly affects health and safety programs such as the baby-sitter training course. Before this summer, each Red Cross chapter offered it at a different price, Mr. Yenrick said. While some chapters, such as Toledo, were able to charge only $30, others required participants to pay slightly more than $85. The new pricing structure will standardize the cost.

Ms. Eames said the library plans to resume the baby-sitting classes during the school year, ensuring that all participants pay the same fee for the same class.

Children hoping to take the class this summer can still take the course at the Greater Toledo Area Red Cross Chapter location or Heidelberg University in July and August. The two venues will host the classes the Toledo-Lucas library would have offered.

Though these locations will offer the course at the new price, families from Lucas, Ottawa, and Wood counties can apply for full or partial need-based scholarships to cover the cost. Scholarship applications can be found at redcrosstoledo.org.

Contact Traci Tillman at: ttillman@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.



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