Feb. 10, 2020 By Kristen Torres
A daycare center in Elmhurst is shutting its doors after more than a decade of serving families in the neighborhood.
Little Elms Child Care Center, located at 77-11 Broadway, announced its decision to shutter its operations in an email to parents on Feb. 3. The center is slated to close on June 30, according to officials at Bright Horizons—the company that operates Little Elms.
The child care center currently occupies space owned by NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, but the two entities failed to agree on terms to renew their existing contract. Little Elms does not currently pay rent to operate in the space.
About 30 children are currently enrolled at the day care—costs for each child hovers around $2,300 a month.
Members of the community took to Twitter to voice opposition toward the company’s plans to close the location.
Twitter user Pilar Fernandez, whose child is currently enrolled at the center, shared a letter sent to Bright Horizons CEO, Stephen Kramer, that argued the company acted in an unprofessional and “unethical” manner.
@BrightHorizons is closing it’s Jackson heights daycare center with only 6 weeks notice to parents and staff and what is worse… over a late at night email! I share the letter that one of the parents wrote to the BH CEO.@AOC @NY1
— Pilar Fernandez 🇦🇷 👩🏽💻 🇺🇸 (@piliffq) February 5, 2020
“We enrolled our children in Little Elms and agreed to pay the substantial tuition because we felt it would be a place with high quality and reliable care,” the letter said.
“Our community is a hyper-organized one of active, involved parents who care deeply about our neighborhood resources, particularly for our children,” the letter continued. “We will ensure that such poor customer and employment practices by Bright Horizons are made known.”
Another Twitter user called the company’s handling of the center’s closing “unfortunate.”
There are already very few daycare options for little ones in Jackson Heights. It’s unfortunate that @BrightHorizons is closing down, and they way they went about it is unprofessional, especially for a large corporation that prides itself on its strong reputation. #savelittleelms https://t.co/UvrpiNAWG3
— Amy Klempner Epstein (@amyeps) February 6, 2020
Bright Horizon officials maintain that they will work with families and staff to find alternate options for child care.
The company said in a statement that it is “committed to supporting each family and each teacher to navigate this transition,” but did not confirm whether or not staff at the center would be laid off or transferred to a different child care facility.
NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst is currently considering options for the space, including securing another daycare provider or repurposing the space for clinical needs.