By Dennis Kabatto – If New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo has her way, 14 Community Day Care Centers slated for closure will not happen.
Council Member Cumbo representing Brooklyn’s District 35, elected officials, parents, children and staff of 8 daycare providers rallied Thursday at the Steps of City Hall to persuade New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to save the fourteen-daycare centers from impending closure.
Child advocates say the closure would not only put hundreds of daycare staffers out of work, it would create financial hardships for many immigrant and low-income families who will have to pay exorbitant fees to private babysitters.
According to a press release from Council Member Cumbo’s office, earlier this year ACS issued its New York City’s Early Care and Education Services (EarlyLearn NYC) Request for Proposal. However, fourteen providers including the Young Minds Day Care – which has served families of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Bedford Stuyvesant sections of Brooklyn for over 30 years providing critical academic programs and service to the youths – were not, awarded contracts for fiscal year 2016.
Tremont Crotona Day Care Center, the Mary Walton Children’s Center, the Audrey Johnson Day Care Center, the Williamsbridge Day Care, the Nasry Michelin Day Care Center, the Pamela C. Torres Day Care Center, Children’s Growing Place, Small World Day Care, Afro-American Parents Day Care Center and Colony South Brooklyn Houses, Inc will also go out of service at the end of June.
“Stability and a high-quality education are crucial in the intellectual and social development of our children. In communities across the City of New York, thousands of working families will be displaced if we allow the closure of several daycare centers. EarlyLearn daycare providers have cultivated longstanding roots, the trust and support of their community to meet the needs of the families served each and every day. The Administration of Children’s Services must act swiftly to protect the seats of our youngest students who deserve a fair opportunity to learn and excel,” said Council Member Cumbo.
Christopher McKniff, a Spokesman in the ACS communications department said in an email statement Wednesday:
“Providing affordable, quality early education is a priority for this administration, and we will work with every affected family to locate a seat in a nearby program.”
“The Administration for Children’s Services initiated a competitive process and reviewed proposals to provide early care and education services across the City and evaluated them using an objective set of criteria,” McNiff said.
“In December 2014, ACS notified all the programs that their contracts would expire on June 30, 2015. ACS has provided information to those programs that were not successful in the RFP process on the Child Care Resources and Referral network, an entity that can assist parents in finding child care placement/services.”
Meanwhile, Council Member Cumbo and her colleagues, daycare providers, parents and children are hoping and praying that ACS rescinds its decision to close 14 desperately needed daycare centers citywide.