Northland Christian Daycare, 3102 N.W. Topeka Blvd., plans to close Nov. 17 due to financial difficulties, attorney Tim Schultz said Thursday.
The daycare notified the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s legal department of the planned closing on Oct. 5, and on Oct. 9 let KDHE know that Nov. 17 would be the closing date for both its child care center and school-age program, said Gerald Kratochvil, communications director for KDHE.
According to the most recent nonprofit paperwork filed with the Internal Revenue Services, Northland Christian’s day care facilities lost just over $15,000 in 2015. The previous year, the organization was near break-even, earning around $1,000.
The Northland Christian facility was licensed for 136 opens, 46 in child care and 90 in its school-age program, said Craig Barnes, spokesman for the Shawnee County Health Department. The facility wasn’t at capacity, though, and about 100 children will need day care when it closes in November.
Those parents from Northland who are now seeking day care will find some available slots in Topeka, said Reva Wywadis, executive director of ChildCare Aware of Eastern Kansas, which offers free child care referrals and resources.
Northland accepted children ages 2 1/2 to 12, with the older children participating in after school programs.
Topeka has 45 child care centers, which includes centers with after-school programs, as well as infant, toddler and pre-school care, Wywadis said.
In addition, there are 252 family child care programs, or home day cares, in Shawnee County that are licensed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
It’s difficult to track how many openings are available in the capital city, both Wywadis and Barnes said, because the number changes frequently.
But Barnes said his agency isn’t receiving multiple calls from parents seeking day care, which anecdotally suggests parents are able to find spots.
The infant market, as is the norm, is tight, though.
Stevi Barger, director of the north La Petite Academy of Topeka, 3325 S.W. Gage Blvd., said her facility has an infant waiting list until 2019 and a shorter waiting list for toddler-aged children. For those openings, the child has to be 1 year old and walking, she said.
For ages 2 to 5, LaPetite has 12 spots available.
Unfortunately, though most La Petite Academies have school-age programs, Barger said hers doesn’t.
Wywadis said child care is a critical resource, and her agency, which can be reached at (877) 678-2548, is happy to help with referrals.
“When child care doesn’t work, parents don’t work,” she said. “It’s such a huge issue.”
Barnes encouraged parents to call the health department, (785) 251-2455, to confirm that any child care they’re considering is properly licensed.