Family Enrichment Network considering countywide child care center

NORWICH – Nearly two years after Catholic Charities of Chenango County closed the doors of The Children’s Center on Virginia Lane in Norwich, the local division of the Family Enrichment Network (FEN) is leading a discussion among area legislative, business and nonprofit officials that could bring a new child care center to Chenango County.

Although talks of opening a new countywide child care center are in the very preliminary stages, the need for a center wasn’t contested during an informational meeting held at the Family Enrichment Center, 21 S. Broad St., on Thursday. The meeting, which featured a round table discussion among local not-for-profit leaders as well as business representatives from some of the county’s largest employers, presented the social and economic benefits of early childhood care, and the financial and logistical barriers that stand in the way.

According to data from FEN, cost per child at a child care center would likely top $190 per week. For toddlers, that price drops slightly to $180 per week, and about $175 per week for infants. Such high figures - combined with increasing expenses to maintain a facility, a lack of funding, increased state regulations, and tough local economic conditions - led to the closing of The Children’s Center in June of 2011, and remains a major deciding factor in opening another child care center in the near future, explained FEN Executive Director Darrell Newvine.

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