Parents, caregivers fight to keep Brooklyn day care open after Department of Health shuts it down

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Jim Dolan reports from Windsor Terrace.

A group of parents and caregivers in Brooklyn are fighting to keep their local day care open, after the New York City Department of Health ordered that it shut down.

Elliott and his friends love "Ilene's Sunflower Day Care" in Windsor Terrace.

The families are close, but Michelle's parents say the staff is the real reason.

"They just don't care for our kids, they love our kids. You know, they laugh, they play, my kids eat better here than they do at home, they nap better here than at home," said Dahlia McManus, Michelle's mother.

The staff must be good! Little Vera shares her toys very well. So when the staff got a text messages on Friday, it was a shock to everyone.

"As of today, Ilene's Sunflower is closing down. Please let the parents know," said Alicia Barnatchez, a mother.

The parents had all pre-paid tuition, some through May.

The parents are out almost $100,000 in total and the workers haven't been paid yet this year. All of them want to be able to work together to continue this special day care center, if only the Department of Health will let them.

"What we'd like to see happen is for some kind of cooperative day care where the parents and the staff can work together in maintaining the quality child care for the community," said Tiffany Watson, a teacher.

The parents want that too. But so far, the Department of Health says it can't happen. They say that they need to go through a long certification process and has even threatened workers.

"If the staff shows up and has any kids on site here, then they are going to face personal liability of $500 fines per day, per staff member," Dahlia said.

The parents and the workers just want the Department of Health to give them a chance.

"We understand that they are looking out for the best interest of the kids, but we think that the best interest for the kids is for them to be with the providers that they have been with, and that we love," said Michelle McManus, a mother.

A GoFundMe page has been set-up to help the workers. You can find more information at www.gofundme.com/savesunflower

Related Topics:
daycarechildrenWindsor TerraceNew York City
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