Harbor Haven shutters respite childcare center
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
April 22, 2011 · Updated 1:00 PM
The lack of money has prompted a Coupeville nonprofit to shutter its child care center and start looking for other ways to help the community.
Harbor Haven announced this month it was permanently closing the Crisis and Respite Childcare, located on South Main Street next to the Tyee restaurant.
“It was a very tough decision. We were all very emotional about it,” said Amy McShane, president of Harbor Haven. Officials closed the center in mid-February when funding dried up. They hoped to find new grants to pay for operating costs.
That didn’t happen and officials made the closure permanent.
The Crisis and Respite Center had been in operation for more than two years and served 75 children from 42 families during that time. McShane said families had a variety of reasons for using the childcare program. Often times families need temporary child care service so loved ones can attend doctor’s appointments; they’re new to Whidbey Island; or a parent is dealing with a serious illness and simply needs a break from the kids.
McShane added that grandparents who are raising toddlers took advantage of the program for a short break from their grandchildren.
Harbor Haven, which operates New Beginnings Thriftique on North Main Street in Coupeville, also underwent a leadership change in recent weeks. McShane was recently named president; Terri Boonstra is treasurer; and Cynthia Cooper is secretary. Ruth Dean, Janet Sebastin, Kay Sterns and Erin McShane were named to the board and Ellie Davis is the new store manager.
With the child center closed, Harbor Haven leaders will look for ways to raise money and organizations to help out. McShane said the organization wants to offer scholarships and grants to needy families to pay for temporary help at current daycares.
McShane said the group is looking for other child service entities with which to partner, but no formal arrangements have been announced.
For more information about Harbor Haven, call McShane at 678-0537.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.