WELLINGTON, Kan. (KSNW) — According to Child Care Aware of Kansas, only 37% of child care demand in Sumner County is being met—that means nearly 700 kids are still in need of a spot.
The county has three child care centers, one of which (Angel Wings Learning Center) was slated to close for good. When Jamie Sowersby, who owns an in-home day care called The Clubhouse, heard the news three weeks ago, she says she knew she had to step in.
“There would be however many kids are here would need to find a new day care, and we knew that wasn’t going to happen,” Sowersby said.
Thursday, several parents got a preview of the soon-to-be former Angel Wings Learning Center as it transitions into the new and improved The Clubhouse.
“My friend was like going to take over this day care center, and I was like: ‘Alright, let’s do it!'” fellow in-home provider Morgan Miller said.
Miller says she’s run her own in-home day care for seven years and receives two or three calls a week from parents in need.
“And, I’m like, ‘I’m just full,’ and, it’s, you know, I hear all over town it’s hard to find day care,” Miller said.
In the state of Kansas, group child care homes can only take in 12 kids at a time. As the two in-home care providers join forces and open the revitalized center, it will be able to serve 71 kids.
“I guess the number of infants that you have impacts the overall amount of kids that you have … and they define in an in-home setting as 18 months or younger, so but here at the center, that’s 12 months and younger,” Miller said.
In the past few weeks, Sowersby and Miller have hired eight additional staff members to meet the minimum requirement for a center this size. Both women say the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) grant money helped make this dream a reality.
“They (the KDHE) need day care providers so desperately that they are paying the fees, so they’re waiving them for us to pay them,” Sowersby said.
“So far, everything has been running really smooth as far as getting all the licensing cleared and everything,” Miller said.
The new Clubhouse opens at 7 a.m. next Monday.