Parents, staff shocked after N.S. daycare closes without warning
Published Monday, April 14, 2014 1:21PM ADT
Last Updated Monday, April 14, 2014 6:51PM ADT
Dozens of families and employees are scrambling to find answers and childcare arrangements after a daycare in Lower Sackville, N.S. suddenly closed its doors.
Parents and staff arrived at the Cobequid Children’s Centre Monday morning to find the doors to the facility had been locked.
Employees say about 45 children were supposed to spend the day at the daycare and more than 70 families are affected by the sudden closure.
“I’m just disappointed. This was a good daycare, the children loved it here,” says Karen Kearney, a mother of two.
“The employees were great. I’m one of the lucky ones where I do have someone to look after my children while I work so I feel really bad for the ones that are just kind of left behind.”
Staff members were told to clean the daycare on Friday because the health inspector was coming in the morning. A neighbouring business says equipment was moved over the weekend.
But staff say they weren’t told the daycare would be shut down.
“I left everything and I moved here to work,” says Stephanie Malley, who started working at the daycare in August.
“They told me it was a great place to work. She kept in contact with me…she’s like, you know, you’ll love it. Now I have nothing again.”
Some parents say they have already paid for the month of April. They are now trying to cancel post-dated cheques for May and find new childcare facilities.
As for the owner, their cellphone is no longer in service.
“We gave them a call with the number they provided and nobody answered,” says parent Dennis Benoit. “We don’t know where to go.”
Vanessa Izzard says she was already looking elsewhere for childcare when she heard about the closure.
“The last three or four months or so when I come to drop him off he’s hesitant to go in the room,” says Izzard. “He doesn’t want to stay, he’s crying to be picked up and I’ve had a feeling.”
But parent Amy Howe says her son Connor received phenomenal care, until Monday.
“It really makes you start to wonder exactly what the issue is,” says Howe. “Obviously, your mind jumps to all these panicky situations and what the issue could be, but nothing could have prepared me for this. I’m completely floored.”
The Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development became aware of financial problems at the daycare a few weeks ago.
“Now, we understood that they worked that out but I assume that they may have had something to do with today’s closure,” says department spokesperson Shelley Thompson.
By law, daycare operators are supposed to give the department 120 days notice before a closure.
“I think it was shady,” says parent Tamara Fraser. “If they wanted to close their doors they had a way to do it. They could have let the parents know a month in advance like any other normal person.”
Staff say the facility had been in business for roughly 13 years.
The Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is compiling a list of possible daycares in the area.
The department is also trying to track down the owner of the daycare.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jayson Baxter