Nova Scotia

'We were just in shock': Sudden daycare closure leaves parents in the lurch

Perriwinkles Child Care Centre in Eastern Passage, N.S. unexpectedly closed its doors on Friday afternoon.

Perriwinkles Child Care Centre in Eastern Passage, N.S. unexpectedly closed its doors on Friday

Perriwinkles Child Care Centre closed suddenly on Friday afternoon, leaving parents struggling to find alternative child care. (Emma Davie/CBC)

Parents in Eastern Passage, N.S. are scrambling to find places for their children to go on Monday morning after the sudden closure of Perriwinkles Child Care Centre.

The daycare closed on Friday afternoon, but many parents didn't hear the news until seeing a Facebook post on Saturday.

"We were just in shock," said Stephen Clevett, whose 19-month-old daughter attended the daycare. "We had no notice whatsoever."

Clevett said his wife picked up their daughter at the daycare on Friday and no one said anything about the closure.

'It's the kids that are affected most'

Stephen Clevett says he's been scrambling to find a new daycare for his 19-month-old daughter after the sudden closure of Perriwinkles Child Care Centre. (Emma Davie/CBC)

Now, Clevett and his wife are in a panic, trying to find a new daycare after less than a year of attending Perriwinkles.

"Our biggest concern now is having to incorporate our daughter into another daycare with a new set of educators, new people, just after getting settled in," he said.

"Really it's the kids that are affected most by this."

Many parents only found out through Facebook

Clevett and his wife aren't the only parents left in the lurch.

Joann Neish said two of her five children were in the after school program at the daycare. She said if she hadn't heard about the closure on Facebook, her kids would have been left stranded at their school on Monday.

"And the school would have been scrambling to call these parents who have these children left behind because they didn't get notified," she said.

The centre is licensed for 52 children up to the age of five. It also has an associated care program for school age children, with a further 40 spaces. 

'Our hearts sunk'

Erin Clarke, who sent her two-year-old twin boys to Perriwinkles, said she, her husband, her parents and her husband's parents are all taking time off work this week to look after the kids.

"Our hearts sunk," she said, adding that they are now frantically searching for a new daycare.

"This was something that almost we feel was very uncalled for. We know there's situations you can't help but it's rough."

The daycare on Cow Bay Road in Eastern Passage, N.S. has closed its doors as of Friday. (Emma Davie/CBC)

Many of the parents who spoke to CBC News said they tried to get in touch with the daycare owner directly, but still haven't heard anything back.

This has left lingering questions like how to retrieve items left in the building, how to get receipts for income tax, whether they'll be refunded the childcare they've already paid for but won't receive — and even if the daycare will continue to charge them through pre-authorized banking accounts.

No response from daycare owner

CBC News made repeated attempts to reach the daycare owner, Perri Shippien, who did not respond to emails, Facebook messages or phone calls.

There were people present at the daycare on Sunday afternoon, but they did not answer when CBC knocked on the door.

A memo on the door of Perriwinkles signed by daycare owner Perri Shippien says she had been trying to sell the business for some time. (Emma Davie/CBC)

A notice on the door of the daycare signed by Shippien says she had been trying to sell the business "for some time."

"Unfortunately, I have not been able to come to an agreement with a potential buyer," the sign reads.

"I had also hoped to give you all more notice but I've officially exhausted my very last effort to keep things afloat and cannot continue beyond Friday."