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Fri., Oct. 9
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Fort Drum announces child-care center will remain open


FORT DRUM — The post will keep one of its child-care centers open with 25 percent fewer spaces after a Department of Defense civilian hiring freeze hurt its staffing efforts and threatened its closure.

The Memorial Child Development Center, Enduring Freedom Drive, will remain open with a reduction in hourly spaces from 74 to 52, which goes into effect Monday. At the same time, part-time enrollments will be reduced from 57 to 50.

Staffing will be maintained through the reassignment of employees from the Youth Sports and SKIES Unlimited programs.

The center provides care for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. The post previously had planned to close the center to ensure staffing at facilities that offered full-time and part-time care, which are listed by the Army as a higher priority.

The SKIES Unlimited program, which provides educational instruction for children and teens, will postpone its art, theater and music classes until further notice.

The news was announced in a release from the post Tuesday morning.

The release noted that the interviewing and hiring under way will allow for full staffing of all programs by mid-April.

Concern about the sustainability of the center arose in January, following the guidance from the Department of Defense to freeze civilian hiring in light of potential budget cuts.

The post previously reported that 59 child-care-provider positions could not be filled because of the hiring freeze.

However, an exception was granted Jan. 30 by the Army’s Installation Management Command to allow for hiring in fields such as child care, security, firefighting and substance abuse counseling.

The possibility of the center’s closure had drawn concerns from parents on post, who brought the matter to the Jefferson County Board of Legislators last week. At the meeting, Legislator James A. Nabywaniec, R-Calcium, told parents to contact Democratic U.S. Sens. Kirsten E. Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer, and Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh.

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