Parents Left Scrambling After Day Care Closes

Owners say poor economy led to downturn in business

Dozens of North Texas parents are scrambling after one of the only two day care centers in a Collin County city suddenly shut down Friday night.

"We wanted to be in a business that mattered," said Trey Hughes, owner of Kids Casa Daycare in Anna.

He and his wife Heather opened Kids Casa 4 and 1/2 years ago, but they said business is down because of the struggling economy.

"We've seen our enrollments over the last several months drop pretty significantly -- people coming in, saying they lost their job or they've been laid off, so they don't need child care," Hughes said.

Hughes and his wife started seeing the decline affect their bottom line six months ago, but they didn't want to believe they would have to close down the day care center.

"This past weekend, when I was doing the books and preparing to run payroll, it became something we could no longer deny that we just weren't going to be able to keep the doors open," Hughes said.

Hughes put a sign reading, "Kids Casa going out of business effective today," on Friday morning.

Parents said that's how they found out.

"I immediately started freaking out," parent April Maldonado said. "'Oh my God, the day care is closed.'"

Maldonado said first there was shock, and then anger set in.

"I think they should have given us a little notice," she said. "Even if it would have been a few days, you know, a week at the most, but nothing."

Kids Casa is one of only two day care centers in Anna. The other, Kiddie Kastle, has been at capacity for years.

Parents said they will now have to seek child care in nearby Melissa.

"I was fortunate that I was able to do that, but the other parents weren't," Maldonado said. "I've gotten calls all day saying, 'I don't know what I'm going to do on Monday.'"

Hughes said he didn't have a choice but had to wait until the last minute to notify parents and employees about the impending closure. He said he was worried staff members wouldn't stay through the week, forcing him to close the doors even sooner than Friday.

He said closing Kids Casa is devastating for him and his wife.

"This is the end of a dream for us," he said.

But they said their landlord would like to keep the building a day care center.

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