Dozens of Bloomington families are scrambling to find alternative childcare after the YMCA of Monroe County announced last week it will close its Center for Children and Families in December.
The facility at the Northwest location has only been open for about four years.
Samantha Tirey says the loss of the childcare provider is devastating for her family. She’s been sending her older son to the Y for a year and a half and was planning to send her newborn there for care as well.
“Our kids are going to lose the teachers who they spend more hours a day with than they spend with me, as a working mom,” Tirey says. “So, it was devastating. It was heart-wrenching.”
Tirey is on the Family Advisory Committee at the Center for Children and Families. The group was working on fundraising to build a new playground at the Y and raised more than $6,000. She says neither she nor anyone else on the committee received notice of the planned closure before the announcement last week.
“If we had known that the center was in trouble, we would have focused our efforts on other things,” she says. “There are definitely ways to reduce costs.”
Amanda DeSchepper says she, too, was shocked when she heard the board’s decision to end childcare at the facility on Dec. 22.
“I said to one of them ‘How can you do this? This isn’t enough time to find quality daycare in Bloomington,’” Deschepper says. “The response I got was ‘You know, we could shut this down today.'”
DeSchepper has two children enrolled in the Y’s program and says she’s having a hard time finding another childcare provider who can take them in on such short notice. She says parents deserve answers from the Y’s board.
“I think they owe us all a town hall meeting to let us know what extraordinary measures they’ve done before they came to this decision,” she says.
The marketing and communications director for the YMCA of Monroe County declined an interview. In a statement last week, CEO Jason Winkle said the non-profit can’t meet the financial obligations needed to remain a licensed child care center.