Other Doodlebugs sites remain open as Oakland Road location closes
The Doodlebugs Learning Station location on Oakland Road south of Cacapon State Park closed as of the end of the business day on Friday, December 28.
The Doodlebugs sites on Fairfax Street across from the old War Memorial Hospital and their school-age center located behind Widmyer Elementary will continue to remain open to serve the families of Morgan County, said Doodlebugs owner Jennifer Spinks.
Spinks said that she and her husband Rich Spinks decided to close the Oakland Road Doodlebugs center for personal reasons.
Being present and involved with the oversight and operations of all three child care locations had become increasingly difficult for them with everything they had on their plates personally and professionally, she said.
Oakland Road location clients and staff were notified on November 30 about the closing. Families were given the option of transferring their children to one of the other sites, Jennifer Spinks said.
They have expanded the Fairfax Street location and have amended their state license to have more children at the site and to accommodate the transferring children.
Other sites doing well
Their Fairfax Street and Widmyer Elementary sites are at capacity and thriving and are not in danger of closing, she said. They are licensed for 86 children between the two sites.
While some clients’ co-payments have increased since August with the Department of Health and Human Resources changes to child care subsidy co-pays, Spinks said they haven’t seen a loss in clientele because of this.
The co-pays for families that are currently getting state child care subsidies increased from the current 5% to 12% effective August 1. Rates paid to child care providers stayed the same.
The Doodlebugs Oakland Road site will be up for sale in January, Spinks said. The couple hopes that an individual, church or other interested party may want to buy the property to offer the community the same quality programs for children that they began there.
Spinks also said that Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s decision to keep the current income eligibility guidelines for child care subsidies for state MountainHeart clients “was a wonderful thing for families and centers around the state” and “good news for everyone.”
“It was a huge win for families and child care providers when the governor chose to rescind the decision to freeze MountainHeart funding this past August, and it is a huge win for families and centers that the poverty guidelines will not be changed as originally proposed to take place on January 1,” Spinks said.
There had been concerns that the Department of Health and Human Resources proposed changes to the poverty level eligibility guidelines would cause some families in need to lose their child care subsidies.
Tomblin tabled those proposed income guideline changes for further review.