The YMCA will be shutting down five child-care programs at Calgaryschools next month due to a shortage in staff, forcing80 families to find alternativearrangements before and after school.

Programs at Battalion Park, Crossing Park, Douglasdale, Monsignor JS Smith and Ramsay schools will all close. Thirteen other sites will remain open across the city.

Wayne Perkins, presidentof the YMCA in Calgary,said his organizationsimply can't find the staff to keep the programs running. He said he knowsparents will have a hard time finding other child care.

"They are gravely disappointed and very distraught at having to look at finding alternative care for their school-aged children midway through a school year. That is absolutely not an easy job at all."

Staff shortageswere affecting the program, which provides before and after care to 550 children at 18 different schools in the city, with the goal of helping working parents who need child care outside school hours.

Perkins said last week that the program, which has a waiting list and is provincially licensed, has been desperately short staffed for a year and scrambling to fill 10 vacant positions out of a full staff of 50.

The YMCA was concerned that the shortage could not only hurt quality of care, but the program, and it would no longer be able to meet adult-to-child ratio requirements.

The five programs will close Feb. 28.