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'It's like one step forward, two steps back': Child care struggles remain in Door County

Posted at 5:05 PM, Mar 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-01 18:24:16-05

DOOR COUNTY (NBC 26) — Child care options remain limited in Door County. And business owners say it seems just as soon as progress is made there's another obstacle.

  • Video shows Children First Development Center co-founders after getting their keys on Friday
  • Just this week, Adventures Child Care in Brussels also closed

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

For months, I've followed the childcare struggles in Door County, even heading to Madison, for Governor Ever's special session on funding.

The county is considered a child care desert, an area with more than three times as many kids as child care slots.

Kayla Lehman and Lorie Torbeck are chipping away at the problem.

"I feel like we can step forward now a little bit more what most of what we've been doing up to this point has been kind of in the background," said Torbeck.

On Friday, they got the keys for what will become Children First Development Center in Sturgeon Bay.

They already have a wait list of 85 kids but just 76 spots.

“Well, the community has been amazing, we’ve had so much support,” said Torbeck.

Their celebration is bittersweet, knowing the troubles of another center nearby.

"Our hearts and our condolences go out to the families affected by Adventures Child Care closing this week and we hope that that gets resolved quickly," said Lehman.

Sandy Jandrin has owned Adventures Child Care in Brussels for 27 years.

She says she had around two dozen kids. But this week the state revoked her license because she filed paperwork late.

"It was a clerical error on my part, I've never denied that it was, but I thought I could work with them,” said Jandrin.

Sandy says the community is speaking up on her behalf on social media, including Facebook.

"I can't explain, express the gratitude I have for not just our community but the Luxemburg community," said Jandrin.

Supporters have also been calling their lawmakers.

I spoke with State Representative Joel Kitchens and State Senator André Jacque.

Kitchens said:

"It's such a critical need right now that if we can if it's just a simple thing where we can get them reinstated, we’ll do that."

And Jacque:

"I think what's really disappointing is that it's become pretty clear that this is not any sort of a public safety issue, but rather one of bureaucracy and paperwork."

For Kayla, Lorie, and Sandy, it's another day in their united up-and-down mission.

"It's like one step forward, two steps back," said Torbeck.

As of now it isn't clear whether or not Adventures Child Care will be re-opening.