Child care center closure angers parents

EDMONDS — A child care facility in Edmonds that serves more than 70 children is abruptly closing its doors at the end of this month.

The parents and staff were given only 30 days notice to find other child care arrangements, sending parents scrambling for options.

Childtime Learning Centers, 9329 244th St. SW, is one of 340 facilities in the nation run from a corporate office in Novi, Mich.

The 14 staff members and parents of 70 children in the Edmonds facility were sent a letter on March 31 that said the facility would close April 30 due to "the current economic situation."

The center’s assistant director, Karen Knight, referred media calls to corporate headquarters.

Chief executive officer Bill Davis said in an e-mail statement that the decision was not made lightly.

"I deeply regret that families are being displaced by the closing of our Edmonds center," Davis wrote. "We agonized over closing this center for over a year while we continued our attempts to improve its financial performance.

"It saddens us that our best efforts proved not to be enough, and we are forced to close this center."

Asked why the company didn’t give parents earlier notice, and what the financial details were surrounding the closing, company officials declined to comment. Jessica Westerhold, whose son attends the center, said the parents were "shocked and dismayed" by the news. The families are scrambling to find other child care, she said.

"This is the worst decision they could have made. They are looking at it as a financial decision, but are completely ignoring the children," she said.

MariLyn Yim, whose two children attend day care at Childtime, called the corporate decision "stark" and "cold."

"This action is a corporate decision that was made in Michigan and is being handled in a stark, cold way that speaks more of Wall Street than of loving and caring for children," she said.

In an April 5 letter to CEO Davis, Yim called the company’s timing "atrocious" and asked why the company didn’t consider raising tuition or selling the center to another day care operator.

Parents face long waiting lists at other day cares, Yim wrote, "that just won’t accommodate Childtime’s 30-day closure notice and will force these parents to make difficult compromises with their babies’ care."

Jennifer Collins, another parent of two children at Childtime, said "30 days closure notice isn’t sufficient — it is rude and callous, it’s a slap in the face."

Reporter Pam Brice: 425-339-3439 or

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