Shattuck Child Care Center’s future unclear

June 24, 2016
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The future of the Shattuck Child Care Center (SCCC) is once again uncertain, as the center has until the end of September to find a new home. The state plans to demolish the building that currently houses the center.

The center currently has 39 students.

The center is located in the Personnel Building on the Shattuck Hospital campus and was told by the state in 2012 that that building would be closed. A solution to its facility problem was thought to have been found several times since then. Last fall, the state Legislature granted SCCC a long-term lease for $1 annually to put a mobile unit on the campus. SCCC was going to find financing for the mobile unit, but was unable to do so. The center is pushing for an extension to the Oct. 1 deadline to allow for more time to find a new home.

The child care center was founded in 1969 as the National Council of Jewish Women day care center and renamed in 1989. It was used as a recruitment tool for state employees to come work at Shattuck.

SCCC will meet on Monday with state officials and staff from local elected officials to attempt to come broker a solution, according to Clare Reilly, a member of the Shattuck Child Care Center Board.

Meanwhile, local state Rep. Liz Malia and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz released a statement throwing their support behind the center, while the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) said it remains “open” to considering plans for a new home for SCCC, but said that the center has been given more than a year to come up with a plan.

The Gazette was first alerted about the SCCC problem by Sarah Horsley, a parent of a son that attends the center. She and other parents formed the group “Shattuck Kids and Community” to fight for the center. The group held a community meeting last Thursday with about 100, including elected officials, according to Horsley.

Horsley called the center a “magical place” because it provides “quality educative care.” She said that the student body is diverse, both economically and racially. Horsley said that that is important to her not only because she is a progressive, but that her son is bi-racial. She said that the SCCC is in a “great location” and provides flexible hours and is affordable. For more information about the group, visit shattuckkids.org.

Malia and Chang-Diaz released the following joint statement about the center: “The Shattuck Childcare Center is an invaluable resource to Jamaica Plain residents and Shattuck workers. For 47 years, this public-private partnership has made daycare affordable for an economically and ethnically diverse group of families, who want what everyone wants: safe, quality, affordable early education and care opportunities for their children. We have worked with these families over the last four years to make sure that the center will remain in Jamaica Plain for another 47 years, and we will continue to work with the Baker administration, Shattuck Childcare Center parents and board members to explore feasible sites.”

Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said through a spokesperson, “The Department of Public Health provided the child care center with the option to remain on the Shattuck’s grounds if the center was able to secure financing and develop a plan for a new center. For more than a year the Shattuck Child Care Center has provided no credible plan for financing or a viable alternative. We remain open to considering alternatives proposed by the Shattuck Child Care Center.”

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