"Hindsight is 20/20:" Minden Daycare operator apologizes to families left in lurch
Representatives from Ontario Early Years Centres (OEYC) found themselves facing an angry crowd Wednesday evening, during a public meeting about the closing of Minden’s only licenced daycare provider.
On Friday, shortly after 4 p.m., 52 families received notice that the Children’s Learning Centre was closing its doors June 22 – giving families a week’s notice to find another childcare provider.
During Wednesday’s meeting, the Centres’ executive director Pippa Stephenson said they had been negotiating with another daycare provider for eight months to take over the Minden operation, due to increasing costs associated with running a daycare.
Believing a deal with another daycare provider was imminent, OEYC terminated its agreement with the City of Kawartha Lakes, effective June 22, despite the fact that it hadn’t confirmed that another operator would be taking over the site.
She acknowledged that that was something that wasn’t shared with the public. She said it was kept under wraps because no one wanted to alarm families if a deal was reached at the 11th hour.
“Hindsight is 20/20,” Stephenson said. “We could have done it better.”
“We were actually trying to put everybody ahead of us and keep it quiet so nobody was panicking.”
But that did little to appease the crowd of about 100 people.
“Is there not, in that group that sits in front of us right now, not some sort of moral obligation to tell parents what was happening in the eight months that was going on?” One man asked.
“I was warned at 4:17 p.m on a Friday,” said one woman, adding that she was a single mother. “When I can’t call anybody, I can’t advocate for anybody, I am left all weekend wondering what is going on.”
Residents did get some welcome news. Daycare provider Compass confirmed that they would be providing services at the same location beginning Monday, and would keep current staff in place.
While that news got some applause from the crowds, others expressed skepticism.
“For eight months, you were confident this was going to happen,” parent Kelly Taylor said. “For eight months you were confident, you didn’t have a backup plan. It got down to five days, you’re confident it will happen tomorrow. But I’m not confident in you anymore.”
Others said the entire system needed to be assessed, with more input from local families.