The Keokuk Community Child Development Center will open its doors on April 22. Supporters said the center will help fill the need for more quality, affordable child care in southeast Iowa.
The center will be located in Trinity United Methodist Church, which is where the former Rosie Posie Child Development Center was located. Rosie Posie closed its doors in late September 2018 amid an investigation into possible child neglect after a child was allegedly left unattended in a vehicle for several hours.
Shelley Oltmans with the Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce said the abrupt closing of Rosie Posie affected many families in and around Keokuk. She said in response, community members started meeting to come up with ideas to fill the gap.
Oltmans said the result is the KCCDC. She said in a span of about six months, an oversight board was formed, 501c3 status was secured, and a director was hired.
“Six months ago, I personally knew very little about child care, other than the fact that my child went to a center and she was happy there,” said Oltmans. “Through this process, I have learned that across the state, we have a child care crisis.
“At the time of the closure, we were filling about 30% of the need in Lee County with the slots that we had available in centers and with in-home care.”
Oltmans said several organizations contributed money or offered lines of credit to help start the KCCDC, including the Keokuk Economic Development Corporation and the Keokuk Area Community Foundation.
She said the KCCDC will take it slow at first when it comes to enrolling children.
“I can’t say how many people we will have enrolled on Monday because the enrollment requirements require several things to be done before a child can come into the center,” said Oltmans. “We will have employees, we will have our doors open, but we just have to make sure the children meet all the enrollment requirements.”
Oltmans said the weekly rate will range from $125-$175 depending on age. She said right now, enrollment is limited to children age 2-5 and for summer camp for school age children.
Oltmans said spots will open up soon for infants and for before/after school programs for school-age children. She said the goal is to be serving 110 children by the end of the first year of operation.
“We are just going to take our time, make sure we are doing the best we can do every single day by training our staff and empowering them to be able to provide the care that needs to be done.”
This story was produced by Tri States Public Radio. TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the important issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.