Day care closure highlights bigger problem in Asheville area, state

Nearly six dozen children, according to Daniel Bradshaw, chairman of the leadership council for Calvary Baptist Church, would be affected by the closure of Calvary Baptist Church Child Enrichment Center. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Parents scrambled to find new child care services after finding out an Asheville church daycare would close Feb. 9.

Nearly six dozen children, according to Daniel Bradshaw, chairman of the leadership council for Calvary Baptist Church, would be affected by the closure of Calvary Baptist Church Child Enrichment Center.

Bradshaw said the director of the day care program was leaving, but the closure was also part of a bigger problem in Buncombe County and throughout North Carolina.

Megan Branstiter, whose 4-year-old son attended day care at Calvary Baptist Church, would have to find new child care for her son for the second time in three years.

"We actually had the same occurrence with another day care, shut down, and you have to find another place fast," Branstiter said.

Amy Barry, executive director at Buncombe Partnership for Children, said quickly finding another day care would not be an easy task.

"For infants and toddlers, those wait lists can be over a year," Barry said. "This is an issue in Buncombe County, but it's also an issue across the state. It has kind of reached a crisis point in Buncombe in that programs are having a really hard time finding qualified early educators."

Bradshaw said finding qualified teachers contributed to closure plans.

The director of the day care program announced her resignation several weeks before parents were alerted, Bradshaw said, because they took several weeks to try and figure out a solution before calling for the closure.

"We would have to find another qualified administrator of the program," Bradshaw said.

Finding a director a couple months before facing a state inspection for renewal of their operating license, Bradshaw said, would also present more problems.

"We felt like that was going to be an issue, trying to hire a new director with the relicensure coming," Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said, not to mention, the program was struggling financially.

"Trying to make ends meet, keep the prices low," Bradshaw said.

But, Branstiter said, she was optimistic about her son finding day care No. 3.

"I'm sad about it, you know, a little upset. but, there's going to be a solution to the problem, hopefully," Branstiter said.

Bradshaw said about 14 teachers would also be affected by the closure.

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