CHARLESTON, WV -- When it was announced last week that Kanawha County Schools soon will close its three day cares, private day care directors like Kaleisha Terry knew they would soon feel ripple effects as parents scrambled to find new child care providers.
Terry, director of the Kanawha Valley Enrichment Center, said several parents have called her asking if there are openings at her day care, but she doesn't have the space to accommodate any more children.
Her facility, which is in the Schoenbaum Family Enrichment Center near Patrick Street, is licensed to serve 95 children from 6 weeks to 12 years of age. Like many private day cares in the Charleston area, it is already at capacity. Families can either go on a wait list or try their luck someplace else.
Terry said she will refer parents if she knows of a day care with an opening, but most are in the same position she is in: They don't have any room.
There was an opening in her infant classroom of the Enrichment Center, but one of the affected parents has already claimed the center's final spot.
Since children get moved to another classroom when they get older, she will have 10 to 15 openings this summer when a Pre-K class ends.
"I'm hoping to free up some space to be able to help some of these families that are losing their child care services," Terry said.
For the other 120 families that will be without child care when West Virginia Public Employees Day Care, Elk Center Day Care and Shawnee Community Day Care Center all close in June, Connect Child Care Resource and Referral might be the quickest way to find a new provider.
Connect offers free referral services and helps clients register to receive state assistance to help pay for day care. Connect also has 89 registered in-home and center-based child care providers for families to choose from.
Toni Walters, Connect director, said no day care is ever referred over another, but that she and the staff of case managers will help families find a place that best suits their needs. They also help parents find out if they qualify for subsidies.
There are income requirements to receive subsidies. For instance, a four-person family is eligible to receive child care assistance if their monthly income is less than $2,881.
Walters said a large majority of clients are working-class families that have trouble paying for day care, but that the income guidelines are flexible enough to help many families.