Two local childcare centers closing in Fargo

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live): Nokomis Child Care Centers operated by The Village Family Service Center will be closing both locations on June 30, 2017. The spokesperson for the company says they notified parents and staff on Thursday about the upcoming closure to give them time to find a new daycare and a new job.

The Village said in a release "full-time staff will be provided with severance pay as well as career transition support, and The Village will actively engage with providers in the community to help families find new child care."

The closure will affect 140 children and 38 full-time staff. In the statement from the Village they say child care in the FM community has changed.

"Our response to these changes is to discontinue child care services as a program of The Village. Doing so allows the organization to focus on providing behavioral health services across North Dakota and Minnesota. There is a growing need for these services in many communities, a trend we expect will continue" said the release.

The Village says they remain committed to improving the quality of life of children through outpatient counseling, intensive in-home family services, truancy intervention, and mentoring.

In 2016, the Village directly served 4,893 children through these and other programs.

"This was not an easy decision for the Village,” said Rick Henderson, chairman of The Village’s Board of Directors. “We are mindful of the impact this decision will have on the families we serve and our dedicated staff. After careful consideration, we decided that we could meet the greatest needs of more children in North Dakota and Minnesota by focusing on counseling and other direct programming."

The release goes on to say the opening of several child care centers in the community has led to a more competitive environment, and made it more difficult to fill open slots.

"In addition to the increase in vacancies, an ongoing workforce shortage has made it difficult to hire and retain necessary care staff" said the release.

The Village says other challenges facing the centers include continued, costly building problems, and in 2017, the Nokomis centers experienced a reduction in consistent funding sources.

According to the Nokomis Child Care website says "Nokomis fills a need for families facing special financial needs. We also accept children who are dealing with special emotional, physical, behavioral, and developmental needs."

Nokomis Child Care Centers also just received $5,000 at the end of March from the Cass County Electric Cooperative Foundation. The purpose, according to a release, was to maintain a scholarship program for families unable to pay full price for care.

Valley News Live is continuing to follow this story, check back for updates.