CARC daycare was set to close permanently after 25 years due to financial issues until an anonymous donor stepped forward saving one of Carlsbad’s few childcare facilities.
Mark Schinnerer, chief executive officer of CARC Inc., said the decision to close the daycare was made four weeks ago and would have taken effect on Oct. 1. The closure would have affected 38 children and infants whose families would have had to find new childcare options.
“There was a donor that stepped up the next day and said, ‘hey we don’t want the community to be hurt by another closure,’” Schinnerer said. “So, we have decided to continue and serve the children and serve the community and make sure that those kids have a good daycare to go to.”
Schinnerer said the reason the daycare was struggling was because COVID-19 regulations set by the New Mexico Department of Health limited the number of children that could be enrolled. He said the facility could normally care for 54 children.
Records show that childcare services are limited in Carlsbad. The city only has nine registered daycare centers while nearby cities like Roswell have over 40 according to the New Mexico Early Childhood Services Center web portal.
COVID-19 impacted childcare services all over the country according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation as about two-thirds of small daycare centers with less than 75 children are struggling to break even.
“We are thrilled they are able to stay open,” said local parent Brandy Lee. “There is not another daycare in town that I would trust with my children. This would have been a devastating loss for our community. Our town has so few childcare options, and even fewer trustworthy options.”
Hannah Reitz said her daughter goes to CARC Inc. for their special needs and disability services.
She said she is glad the daycare center is still an option for her family in case they need it. Her and other parents have come forward to express their gratitude to the anonymous donor that allowed the daycare to stay open.
“Our children need a safe caring place to be watched and that’s been a great asset to many of us in Carlsbad, so thank you,” Reitz said. “I know hard workers and people that have a heart for kids like my daughter are hard to come by.”
Schinnerer said the daycare center has 10 employees who would have had to move to another department after the closure.
“If there are any other donors that would like to help support and you know to maintain this service in the community, then we’d love it if they could go to our website carcinc.org and donate,” he said.
Claudia Silva is a reporter from the UNM Local Reporting Fellowship. She can be reached at [email protected], by phone at (575) 628-5506 or on Twitter @thewatchpup.