Families hunt for new child care after Iowa City facility suddenly closes

An Iowa City daycare is now closed for good after giving parents less than a week of notice.
Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 10:18 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - An Iowa City daycare is now closed for good after giving parents less than a week of notice.

Parents were told last Tuesday that the EASY Early Learning Center housed in River Community Church will be closed starting Monday.

“As I got the message, my heart really sank,” said Taylor Isenhour, a parent whose two kids went to the daycare. Isenhour had plenty of experience navigating the difficult childcare landscape in Iowa City.

“This isn’t my first time we’ve lost childcare on very short notice,” she said. “We were planning to have my kids in this daycare until they entered kindergarten.”

According to Liz Retikis, Director of the Early Learning Center, the majority of kids who attended daycare, 35 out of 52, were on Child Care Assistance (CCA) from the state.

“Families that can’t afford child care, the state or the government pays for them, but in reality, they’re not giving what we need, price-wise,” said Retikis.

She said for an infant, the daycare charged $265/week. However, they would only get $232 for an infant over a two-week period from CCA.

Retikis added not only was the state’s money too little, it was also often too late.

“I think a big part of it was that we had a lot of CCA, and you can’t always depend on that coming in right away,” she said.

Isenhour said the Early Learning Center was one of the more affordable day cares in town but was still a financial burden.

“I know that daycare here, while it’s very affordable, is more than my mortgage,” said Isenhour.

Her daughter will go to a new daycare part-time, but Isenhour said she will be paying “a couple hundred more a month.”

Isenhour said she counts herself lucky to have figured out a new childcare solution in just a few days, but the closure still has her wishing there was more help for families.

“Child care is still extremely hard to find. It’s extremely difficult to afford. And I really wish there was more support for young families,” said Isenhour.