HOUSTON – A daycare that specializes in medically dependent children is closing its doors.
The JoyCare Pediatric Day Health Center on Sands Point Drive in southwest Houston will shut down on Friday because of financial problems.
“It is so disheartening. When I first found out, I thought I was going to pass out,” parent Carmen Hernandez said.
Cottichia Burke-Rominiyi is the founder and says everything went downhill during the pandemic.
Burke-Rominiyi says the state has been a big help but keeping the private facility open is expensive.
“I know that many of their lives will change. That many of my moms, especially our single moms may not be able to have consent work,” Burke-Rominiyi said.
The center was faced with many challenges when it opened in 2017 and started serving children in 2018. The daycare is the only Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Center in Houston.
Burke-Rominiyi says everything changed when the pandemic hit, and then the Omicron and Delta variants came along.
“That created a really big financial crisis for us,” she said.
Burke-Rominiyi says the private center received aid during the pandemic, but it was difficult to stay afloat.
“It’s very competitive for nurses. Our payroll by itself is about $70,000 a month,” Burke-Rominiyi said.
She says it costs about six figures to operate the daycare each month.
On top of the cost, they’ve also had to deal with inflation and issues with their payer Medicaid.
“This is not a complaint about the system. It’s just acknowledging someone of the challenge is operating a facility of this type,” Burke-Rominiyi said.
Families who rely on the daycare will have to consider public schools or a private duty nurse.
“That’s very, very difficult for each child here to have one nurse,” Burke-Rominiyi said.
Mother Carmen Hernandez says the facility has been a huge help to her 5-year-old daughter.
“I was able to back to work. Our lives went back to some sense of normalcy that we so much needed. Plus, she was able to get all the therapies that she needed,” she said.
There are seven other Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Center in the state. The centers are located in Brownsville, Dallas, Longview, Edinburg, Lubbock, Nacogdoches, and Tyler, Texas.
If you would like to help the JoyCare Pediatric Day Health Center remain open, call (713) 929-CARE (2273), or visit joycarekids.com.