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Ascension parents looking for options as embattled daycare closes

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PRAIRIEVILLE - Although it was once covered in bright orange notices from the department of education, Alphabet Soup Learning Center in Prairieville is now covered with loving messages following a judge's order to shutdown.

Today, parents are left scrambling to find a new childcare service.

“They're pretty anxious and they need a spot for their child, and they can't really find one. So they're despaired,” said Catherine Geeck. “They want to know if we know of any other place, and we do try to help them when we can."

Catherine Geeck, owner of Kinder Garden in Prairieville, said they started getting calls from parents of kids at Alphabet Soup about a month ago.

She said they added an extra class to make some space, but the biggest problem for parents of school-aged kids from Alphabet Soup is finding a place for older kids to go before and after school.

"That area is very difficult for parents to find because there's really not enough available spots for the children," Geeck said.

After a judge denied their request to remain open while they go through an appeal, the owners of Alphabet Soup daycare said they have been spending time trying to find placements for the more than 100 registered kids that were in their care and their employees.

Geeck said the biggest problem is not only the lack of availability, but also the lack of transportation.

“The school system only allows to have the bus come to your school district, so then we have to have a driver and transportation for another school system,” Geeck said. “Then you really have to limit how many schools you service.”

“We service one school, which is Lakeside because the bus comes here. And we can only drive 14 children,” she finished.

With limited options, some parents can likely look forward to spending as many as six months on wait lists.

For parents who qualify for childcare assistance, Ascension Public Schools are helping to find a place at designated childcare centers.

For a list of the network of private early childhood education providers, you can visit: www.ascensionearlychildhood.org


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