United Way helps families move forward after closure of childcare center

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Families were scrambling to find child care after the abrupt closing of the Northwest Childcare Development Center with help from the United Way.

The non-profit is using money it previously provided the center to help families now in need.

One day after losing her job and her childcare with the closure of the center, Michelle Taveras said she's trying to work out her next steps.

"I'm out of a job my kids don't have anywhere to go. They're sad," Taveras explained.

Sad - and for many people - mad over the closing of a Roanoke institution, which served low income families since 1982 until Thursday, when its board of directors shut it down. The sudden closing comes amid allegations of gross negligence and mismanagement of money.

"When we made the decision to redirect our funding from Northwest Child Development Center based on their inability to meet some of the criteria necessary to receive those dollars," Afiri DeVires of the United Way said.

The United Way of Roanoke Valley reports it provided nearly half the funding for Northwest's childcare program, but stopped when it became aware of what United Way describes as the Center's possible financial and internal control problems.

"We put that money on hold because we recognize that the families affected by the centers potential closure were going to need support," DeVires said.

The support now comes as more than 80 families are forced to find childcare elsewhere, at a time many licensed and and quality centers are near capacity. Three providers serving the Melrose area met with parents Friday to help them transition to a new facility with help from United Way.

"Many of them will need some subsidies to do that to help them manage that tuition costs," DeVries explained. "The decision to make sure that those kids have a better start was not hard to make. Watching the facility not move in a direction the whole community would like to see it go in; that's difficult for us."

United Way will also help with transportation and job support.