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No plans to reopen? Parents scramble to find a new daycare after one announces it's closing

Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-01 19:52:03-05
  • Door County Daycare announces it's closing.
  • Parents tell me they're now frustrated while trying to find new care for their children.
  • I've been following the child care desert in Door County and will continue to look into the issue.

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

Parents in Door County tell me they're already on waitlists for months trying to get daycare for their children and now the problem is going to get more difficult for some.

"I’m just kind of like, what was I thinking? When you have a good thing, you just need to stay there," said Ramirez.

Melanie Ramirez is a mother who works full time at Nicolet Bank.

"I have two kids that go to Zion Monday through Wednesday right now", said Ramirez.

She says last week, parents of children at the Zion Early Childhood Center were sent a letter saying the center will be closing December 22nd, with no plans to re-open in the future.

"I had literally just switched my kids October 16th," said Ramirez.

Previously, Ramirez’s children where at Northern Door Children's Center, making the move to Zion to be a closer commute.

"Two weeks after I started at Zion, this all blew up so I’m really frustrated with myself. For making the switch, you know, for convenience and like that type of thing," said Ramirez.

Trying to get back into Northern Door Children's Center, Ramirez says there are about 20 kids ahead of hers on the waiting list.

I spoke with Jason Bieri, the treasurer for Zion Lutheran Church, who didn't wish to appear on camera to find out more about their decision to close the early childhood center.

"The reason we made the decision when we did we felt it was better to give people longer notice, you know, giving them a month to try and find out their opportunities," said Bieri.

Bieri says that decision came after staffing changes.

"Once those staff members left, you know, it's at that point the church had to make a decision. Are we going to try and reload and re-staff? Or do we want to continue running a daycare, and the decision was made that we really couldn't continue," said Bieri.

Amy Kohnle, the executive director for United Way of Door County, says the closing of this childcare center presents additional issues for parents.

"There's approximately 60 kids so 30 to 40 families, depending on how many children in those families that are struggling now to find childcare, which means they might not be able to go to work," said Kohnle.

For parents like Ramirez, she says her and her husband have hopes that a solution will present itself before the 22nd.

"I don't want my kids to kind of be plopped around just to put them somewhere. I want the steadiness and stability for them as well," said Ramirez.

There doesn't seem to be any clear solutions for parents at this time. Kohnle says the United Way office is available to call. I reached out to State Senator Andre Jacque to see what he has to say about this, and he didn't wish to make a comment at this time. The childcare desert is a story that I’m going to keep following.

There doesn't seem to be any clear solutions for parents at this time. Kohnle tells me parents can call the United Way office. I reached out to State Senator Andre Jacques to see what he has to say, and he said he didn't want to comment at this time.