Dozens of families left scrambling to find last-minute day care after Heather's Child's Place forced to close

The commander of American Legion Post 521 on Route 208 informed the community in a June newspaper ad they're not renewing Heather's Child's Place's lease and they're going to revert it back to its intended purpose of helping veterans.

News 12 Staff

Aug 24, 2023, 10:22 PM

Updated 277 days ago

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Roughly 80 families are scrambling to find day care for their children after suddenly learning their day care center in Montgomery is closing just as the school year is set to begin.
Heather's Child's Place announced it is closing after 42 years. The commander of American Legion Post 521 on Route 208 informed the community in a June newspaper ad they're not renewing Heather's Child's Place's lease and they're going to revert it back to its intended purpose of helping veterans.
Briana Gigante is working on new last-minute child care arrangements for her 3-year-old son, Leo.
"To find out that a day care that's been here for so long and has been in the community, and a lot of people have been using these people for years ... So it's like insane to think it's going to close just like that, and Heather's is done," said Gigante.
About 80 families are losing child care at the end of the month and 20 staff members are losing their jobs.
Assistant director Debbie Sorice said the situation has been tough. Her daughter Kristen went there as a child, and then as an adult, Kristen bought the place from the original founders a few years back.
"It's OK that they want their building back, you know. We're okay with that. It is what it is ... It's just sad," Sorice said.
State Assemblyman Brian Maher said he tried to broker an extension on the lease so parents could have some time to find new daycare, but the post-commander wouldn't budge. Maher is seeking staff requirement waivers that would temporarily allow nearby daycares to increase their capacities enough to absorb this blow.
"As a father of two children who are going to be in daycare full-time this fall, I know I got my slot a year in advance. So these families, dozens of local families, they're going to have to scramble," said Maher.
The original founder's husband told News 12 the leaders of the Legion Post could have been more sensitive.
"If they would have done it the way they should have done it, which would be to sit down with Kristen and Mark and say, 'We don't want to have you here anymore. We'll give you a year.' But don't put it in the paper. They put it in the paper before they even told Kristen and Mark," said Joe Connolly, husband of the original founder.
Heather's Child's Place closes on Sept. 1. The American Legion Post 521 commandeer referred News 12 to the post's attorney for comment, but she has not responded for requests for comment.


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