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Little People's closing after 2 decades

January 25, 1998

Little People's closing after 2 decades

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

RANSON, W.Va. - Little People's Place Day Care will close Feb. 13 after 20 years of service because it can no longer afford to serve the mostly lower income families who utilize it.

"We have worked very hard for several years to see that this very thing did not happen. However, we are now at a point where there are no alternatives left," said Louise E. Bower, president of the Little People's Place board of directors.

Over the years, the day care center had begun to focus more on serving lower-income families who paid on a sliding scale based on their income, or who received day care supplement funds from the state, she said.

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To provide a high quality of day care, the agency had to rely on the United Way of Jefferson County to help underwrite the service.

Bower said when the United Way cut assistance, the Little People's Place could no longer afford to stay open.

"That was our safety net," Bower said.

United Way officials said the allocation was cut from $16,000 in 1995 to $5,000 last year.

Teresa McCabe, a United Way board member, said the cuts were justified, since Little People's Place was overstaffed for the number of children it was serving.

Bower said the day care center currently has about 32 children and the staff will help the families find other day care options.

The day care center currently has a staff of about eight, Bower said. She described them as a "very loyal, hard working" group who is dedicated to the children.

"We want to work to be sure everyone involved here comes out in a good place following our closing," Bower said.

Parents were notified of the decision to close on Friday.

Bower said she will work with state officials to attempt to get the supplemental day care program changed so it provides more funds to cover the cost of the service.

She said as federal and state governments work to get families off welfare and into the work place, something has to be done to make sure the children have quality day care.

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