Heard it Here

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First Baptist Church Children’s Center to Close Sooner Than Expected

Staff members at First Baptist Church Children’s Center found out earlier this week that the daycare center would be closing on December 22nd –five months sooner than expected.


This closing will drastically impact parents, their children, and the staff of the Children’s Center. “Parents are being affected because they have nowhere to take their children,” says a staff member who preferred to have their identity kept private. “We have to find jobs sooner than what we thought.”


After a vote taken in June 2017 by the First Baptist Church congregation, the Children’s Center, which has been in operation for 50 years, was set to be closed in May 2018. The congregation decided that it was no longer able to meet the financial obligations of running a full-time daycare center, and attempting to meet these costs was unsustainable.


The First Baptist Church Children’s Center is a five-star accredited daycare center. First Baptist Church, located on 5th Street in downtown, Winston-Salem, is very proud of this distinction, as well as in the excellence in care they provide to children of Winston-Salem. Their goal, stated in a press release, was to maintain their top two priorities – excellence in care and provisions for staff – until the proposed closing date in May 2018.


When asked to comment on the closing of the Children’s Center, Pastor John Thornton wrote, “The only comment we have to offer to the press is a press release we are distributing at request.” Thornton became the Associate Pastor of Youth, Missions, and Adult Formation in June 2017.


According to the press release, First Baptist Church leadership began exploring options to cut expenses in order to keep the Center running. Cuts, which would have included laying off large numbers of staff, raising tuition, and reducing services, would have negatively impacted almost everyone involved in any way with the Center. It was decided that this burden would fall too heavily on everyone, and it would alter the key components of what makes the Children’s Center unique.


The press release outlined how enrollment at the Children’s Center steadily and significantly dropped since the June announcement to close the Center. In the past 3 months alone, the Children’s Center saw growing monthly losses of tens of thousands of dollars.


As a result of these increasing financial losses, the leadership of both the First Baptist Church Children’s Center and First Baptist Church recommended, with great sadness, that the Children’s Center close in December, according to the press release. This recommendation is pending a vote from the congregation in the coming weeks.


The Ministry Assistant of First Baptist Church on Fifth, Amy Cook, gave a similar response. She wrote, “This will be the church’s only comment on this matter.”


With the impending closure of the Children’s Center, parents continue to search for other childcare options for their children. A Child’s World Learning Center, which opened in 1992, is another daycare center located in downtown Winston-Salem on Cherry Street. The highest enrollment they can handle is up to 125 children.


Many of the teachers at A Child’s World have been working there for over 15 years, and some of the teachers have been serving the center for over 20 years.


“We already have some of their children,” said Miss Jackie from A Child’s World. “As long as we have availability in our classrooms we’re happy to accept them.”

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