NORWICH – A market study has concluded that more than 600 children in Chenango County are in need of child care, and the need is so great in Norwich and Greene that a large-scale facility could be supported.
Over the past two years, a day care facility in New Berlin and 11 family day care homes and five family group day care homes located in municipalities across the county have closed.
The Children’s Center in Norwich, begun in 1994, is the only licensed child care provider left, and it has been turning away at least 75 percent of its placement calls due to a lack of space. The center cares for approximately 60 children, the majority of whom hail from greater Norwich.
What’s more, Catholic Charities, the center’s operator, currently offsets about $114,000 worth of the operations’ costs annually just to keep The Children’s Center open.
“Child care is critical piece of economic development in Chenango County,” said Jane Coddington, executive director of Catholic Charities in Norwich. “We’ve identified quite a large gap of services and we need to look at cost, economic development and employers and employability in the county as a result.”