Fort Valley day care closes due to lack of funding

FORT VALLEY, Ga. — One Fort Valley day care affiliated with the Fort Valley State University Early Head Start program says they’ve closed, because they didn’t receive funding for this school year.

Linda Cooper, the owner and director of First Step Learning Center, says they’re part of a five-year federal grant partnership with the university, and they haven’t received funds for the 2019-2020 school year. That school year was supposed to start this week.

Cooper says they plan to close the daycare temporarily until the university gives them funding, but she hasn’t heard from them about when they would plan to do so.

But according to Tracking Accountability in Government Grants System’s website, Fort Valley State received over $5.9 million for Central Georgia Early Learners and Partnership Program, which they say is used for their Early Head Start program.

Cooper says she’s not sure if all day cares associated in the partnership are closing. They’re located throughout central Georgia.

Georgia State Representative Patty Bentley says she got calls from parents on Saturday who said their child’s day care posted a notice on its front door Friday saying it will be closed indefinitely starting next week.

Reg Griffin from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning explained how the funding works in an email:

“Fort Valley State University receives a federal grant from the Office of Head Start to fund 412 infants and toddlers throughout their community. They provide the Early Head Start services in child care facilities in Peach, Crawford, Telfair, Macon, Crisp, Dooley, Pulaski, and Taylor counties. While DECAL plays a role in their facility licensing, Quality Rated, and CAPS services, program oversight for grant fidelity comes solely from the Office of Head Start within the Region IV Administration for Children and Families.”