Bloomington Day Care Center To Close After Nearly 50 Years
A Bloomington nonprofit that’s provided affordable child care to low-income families for nearly 50 years is set to close its doors next week.
The Bloomington Day Care Center, 309 E. Wood St., is expected to close Jan. 29, said executive director June Davis. Enrollment has declined for many years, she said, as other child care centers in Bloomington-Normal became able to accept families on state assistance. Public schools also began offering more programs for 3, 4 and 5-year-olds, Davis said.
Earlier in her career, Davis said the center had a waiting list of 500 kids. Now it has just 21 families.
“And then of course COVID came around, and enrollment went kablooey. It went way down,” Davis said.
The center, as a nonprofit, also struggled to main a full board of directors, Davis said.
It has 10 employees, some with over three decades of experience. It opened in 1972.
“This program’s been here a long time. The community has always been so helpful and generous. And I hate to see it kind of disappear,” Davis said.
Her 21 families will be moving onto other centers or home-based care. Some are finding the state’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) does not provide enough help for them to afford certain centers, Davis said. Registration fees also can prove difficult to afford for her families, she said.
Davis said her center’s problems are shared by many other providers around Illinois. Child care, like many industries, has been hit hard by the pandemic.
“We may be one of the first ones (to close), but we won’t be the last one if it continues like it is,” she said.
Davis said the center is in preliminary talks about possible merging with another organization to stay afloat. Details of that are not yet finalized.
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