2010-09-10 / Top Stories

Local Day Care Centers To Close June 2011

By Miriam Rosenberg

Two of Rockaway’s day care centers became causalities of the city’s budget crunch last month, when the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) informed them that the leases on their facilities would no longer be funded beginning July 2011. Following threats of closure as part of the city’s 2011 budget, money for the two centers was restored, using City Council discretionary funds. The reprieve, however, is only for one year. According to letters from Larry Thomas, the acting assistant commissioner for the ACS, to the boards of the two day care centers, ACS will terminate the leases at each facility effective June 30, 2011. “Please be advised that children’s services is currently notifying the landlord of its intent to terminate the lease for the facility effective June 30, 2011,” wrote Thomas in his letter to Anderson Jones, the sponsor board chair of Bethel Mission Church, which runs Sheldon R. Weaver Day Care. ACS will also terminate its lease at Hammels- Arverne Day Care Center on the same date.

An enrollment freeze on the day care centers has been lifted so that they can operate for this year, but the freeze will go back into effect on January 1, 2011. At that time ACS will work with both day care centers to “ensure that all contracted care eligible families are provided information on alternative child care options and begin the process of securing alternative placements for the following program year beginning July 1, 2011,” said Thomas in the letters.

In the letters, the assistant commissioner says the correspondence is to give “definite information on the status of your program site.” Despite that, Arlene Cauley, the director of Sheldon R. Weaver Day Care Center, remains optimistic that her facility will remain open. She told The Wave that she hoped that Sheldon R. Weaver, which serves 90 children and is the largest day care center on the east end, will get another extension to continue serving the community.

“We’re going to continue to be vigilant [so] that the center can stay open,” said Cauley. “[We will] write politicians to help them understand how important this day care center is to the community, how important it is for the children to attend here and how important it is for the teachers to teach them. We’ll hold out hope we will be able to [continue] to operate the facility.”

Governor Paterson recently signed a notification bill that requires the public be given a six month notification before closing a day care center. Laura Postiglione, the press secretary for ACS, told The Wave in an email that the bill does not apply to Sheldon R. Weaver or Hammels- Arverne. “The two centers you mentioned are still slated to close on June 30, 2011,” said Postiglione. “ACS is working with parents of children in affected programs to ensure the continuity of care in their communities.”

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