Back Of The Yards Parents Ask Catholic Charities To Re-Consider Closing Child Development Centers

Steve Miller
November 13, 2019 - 6:57 pm

(Courtesy Liliana Celso)

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Parents in the Back of the Yards neighborhood are asking Catholic Charities to re-consider shutting down three child development centers because they say closing down in the middle of the school year leaves families in the lurch.

"We're very grateful for them providing services, but at the end of the day, the notice they gave us — it was not enough time," said Liliana Celso, whose three-year-old daughter is in the Head Start program at St. Joseph at at 48th and Paulina, which is run by Catholic Charities.

She and other parents were told two and a half weeks ago that Catholic Charities didn't have the money to continue programs at three centers in the area, which will be closed Nov. 30. But Celso said parents should have been notified earlier so they could have made other childcare arrangements since nearby child centers are mostly full.

"The people that were managing their money should have known that at the beginning of the school year," Celso said. "And they should have told us there was no more money to finish the school year."

This issue brings attention to the lack of resources in the community, like childcare programs such as Head Start. To bring more attention to the closings, parents and children held signs protesting the closings. Celso's daughter held up a sign that read, "Back of the Yards is worth investing in."

In a statement, Catholic Charities said the decision to close the three Catholic Charities programs was difficult but a necessary move as they struggle with funding.

"Unfortunately, we are not immune to the funding challenges facing all human service providers in Illinois," the organization said. "Our commitment continues to be serving those most in need with available resources. We are working with the City of Chicago as our funder and other providers to facilitate the transition for impacted families, and continue to provide food, housing, mental health, and senior care in the affected communities."