Closing of Little Sprouts Daycare leaves little options for parents

PALOUSE, WA - Friday the small town of Palouse will lose its only facility that provides child care before, during and after school.

Little Sprouts was originally run by the elementary school next to it. In January, it became a non-profit organization and since then, it hasn't been able to make enough money to stay open.

"Child care is a difficult business," said Little Sprouts Board President Jens Hegg. "It's low margin and we knew from the beginning that we we're going to be firing on all cylinders."

Little Sprouts was able to raise about $25,000 in start up money, but the tuition income since then wasn't enough to keep the daycare running. Some parents, such as Heather Beckner, have been dependent on their child care for years.

"They've been coming every day for the last couple years," said mother Heather Beckner. "So I was very sad to hear that it was closing."

Beckner considers herself lucky that she was able to find someone to care for her children.

"I know there's probably a lot of parents that were struggling with what they're going to do with their kids because there's not a lot of options, " said Beckner.

"I know there are people who are worried about whether or not they're going to be able to keep both spouse's jobs, or whether one will have to quit," said Hegg.

There is also the possibility that the lack of child care will force families to move out of Palouse. The parents we spoke with said that no matter what, Little Sprouts will always be remembered for its quality service and staff.

"The staff is great," said mother Shannon Blankenchip. "They love all the kids that come here. My daughter absolutely is thriving here. She loves it, she's sad they're closing."

"I think it's a great asset to the community," said Beckner. "It just is unfortunate that it is not working out at this point."