Press-Republican

Local News

July 2, 2009

Parents scramble for child care

PLATTSBURGH — Megan Morrissey-Kelly held out hope Pyramids Child Development Center would stay open.

But she learned otherwise this morning, and starting at 7 a.m., scrambled to find another child-care option for her 4-year-old son, Declan.

By 10 a.m., all she had was one interview.

“Everything is waiting lists.”

On Wednesday, a judge removed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from Pyramids, which is owned by Melissa Dorsett-Felicelli. Drowning in more than $1 million in outstanding debt, the center will no longer provide child care or services for children with special needs.

As a result, roughly 200 children and their families must turn elsewhere.



WIDESPREAD EFFECT

The State Education Department, area service agencies and public-school officials are scurrying to assist the special-needs children, who are entitled to educational services, by law, once they are preschool age.

Children with special needs are also entitled to early-intervention services through Clinton County from birth to age 3.

Child care is also needed for a number of children who do not fall under those categories.



HELPING HANDS

Adirondack Helping Hands Director Katie Calkins said her facility will “work diligently and quickly to absorb as many kids as we can.”

Helping Hands, which is located in Plattsburgh, has about 50 staff members and can provide classroom settings for children who need it.

“One of the positive things is that we have a very amicable relationship with the county and many other providers, and everyone is going to work hard to get through this,” Calkins said.

Summer programming is especially important to special-needs children from Pyramids who were getting ready for kindergarten in the fall.

“It’s a big summer for those kids, and this (Pyramids closure) is devastating to them,” Calkins said.



NORTH COUNTRY KIDS

North Country Kids may help, too.

“At this point, we are looking to fill a void and provide the highest quality of service we can to children in need,” said Director Stephanie Girard.

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