Barre Mills child-care center announces abrupt closing because of staff shortage

In a letter sent to parents, the Barre Patch Christian Child Care Board says the day-care center will shut its doors the day before Thanksgiving

BARRE MILLS, Wis. (WKBT) — Some parents are scrambling to find child care after their Barre Mills day care gave them just two weeks notice to find another provider.

The Barre Patch Christian Child Care Board told parents in a letter that, instead of closing at the end of January as planned, it’s now shutting its doors the day before Thanksgiving.

“You know, you start thinking about a lot of things, whether one of us are going to have to quit our jobs,” parent Marc Luethe said.

Luethe’s 2-year-old daughter goes to Barre Patch.

But after Thanksgiving, Luethe says he is not sure who will be able to watch over her.

“It’s just going to be a tough thing going forward without having a day-care center,” Luethe said.

Pic Barre Mills Daycare Closing

Luethe received a letter from the Barre Patch Board on Tuesday.

In the letter, the board says issues at the childcare center forced it to accelerate its plans to close, going on to say, “As such we are unable to safely and legally operate past Wednesday, November 24.”

“The staff from my understanding are great, and have been great,” said Kim Gorka, president of the Great Rivers Chapter of Wisconsin Early Childhood Association. “They (parents) been very appreciative of those staff, but there’s not enough.”

Gorka says Barre Patch could not hire enough staff to stay open.

“In a child-care center, you can only have so many children per qualified adult,” she said.

Lower pay is one reason hiring child-care workers is difficult, Gorka said.

“We need to figure out how childcare staff are making $30,000 a year, and that they have health insurance,” she said. “And then people want to go to the field.”

In the meantime, Luethe has another child on the way in January.

And he says he still hasn’t found a place for his two-year-old.

“We might have to count on family members to help us out,” Luethe said.

Making for some tough decisions in a short time frame.

Gorka, who also owns Children’s Palace Preschool & Childcare in West Salem, tells me Barre Patch cares for 42 children right now.

She hopes to accommodate some of those children and is trying to hire some of Barre Patch’s workers.

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