SOUTHBURY, Conn. (WTNH) – A daycare center in Southbury closed its doors Friday, leaving parents scrambling to find childcare.
The state of Connecticut requires that a child care center give parents at least 30 days’ notice if it closes voluntarily. Clockwork Learning Center staff and parents found out on Tuesday that it would be closing.
Holly Sullivan has been taking her daughter to Clockwork Learning Center. Sullivan found out on Wednesday morning that Friday would be the last day the center would be open. She had to miss work as she tried to find another place for her daughter to go.
“It’s hard because as a single working parent it’s hard to make accommodations for daycare,” said Sullivan. “There’s only a handful of them here in this town.”
Sullivan got a letter from David Lyme, the daycare owner, saying, in part, “they didn’t have the families and income to operate any further”. However, parents are out the money they’ve already paid for childcare. They’d paid through the end of the month.
“It was definitely shocking for us. We’re a dual income family,” said Kent Seeley, who brought his daughter to Clockwork Learning. “That’s a thousand dollars we’ll never see again I’m sure. That’s disappointing.”
Parents aren’t the only ones who aren’t being paid back. Staff also aren’t being paid right now. One staff member, who didn’t want to be identified, says that didn’t stop them from coming to work on Friday.
“It was told to us that there aren’t enough funds to be paid, but at this point the money is not the main concern for us. We’re here for the kids,” she told News 8.
Several other childcare centers in town have now been reaching out to help. Elizabeth Bismack is the director of Alef Bet preschool, and she stopped by Clockwork Learning on Friday afternoon to offer to help. She’s offering to take in some of the kids and hire some of the staff.
“I honestly was horrified,” Bismack said. “People have to make a living. Almost all the women that work here have children themselves.”
“Unfortunately these children are being divided up,” said Sullivan. “They’ve had lasting friendships with each other.”
News 8 reached out to David Lyme for a comment and we are still waiting to hear back from him.
We also contacted Attorney General George Jepsen’s office, which sent us the following statement:
“We are aware of the closing and have opened an investigation into it. We have received one consumer complaint and would encourage consumers who have complaints to contact our office by completing a complaint form, which is located on our Web site at http://www.ct.gov/ag; by calling our Consumer Assistance Unit at 860-808-5420; or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. As this is an open investigation, we would decline to comment further at this time.”