PARMA, Ohio — Kristin Carapucci of Parma and her husband have been left with pandemic-related daycare and financial frustration since Nov. 2021, after their son's daycare canceled classes three times due to COVID-19 class quarantines.
Carapucci told News 5 each time her son's North Ridgeville daycare canceled classes they were still required to pay hundreds for services they didn't receive, and it left the family scrambling to find daycare help elsewhere.
”I saw red, I saw red, I literally told the lady I would not be paying,” Carapucci said. "I would not be paying for another round of services unrendered.”
“They don’t give us an option, they’re just like we’re closing down and you have to pay us, we're closing the room down and you have to pay for it. We wrote them and asked them if they would rethink the policy there and then after the third time we started looking for a different daycare.”
With spiking COVID-19 cases, Carapucci believes the State of Ohio needs to distribute specific federal pandemic dollars to daycares statewide to help offset the financial dilemma caused by growing classroom quarantines and parents still left paying the bill.
“We waited too long, we assumed everybody had the same policy," Carapucci said. "I should have been asking around, I should have asked other families that had students in a daycare facility."
Joan Hamm, Executive Director of Children First of Cleveland Daycare and a member of the Ohio Association of Child Care Providers, told News 5 she agrees the State of Ohio should work to provide a federal funding source to help deal with a growing number of daycare class quarantines.
“It is just the worst of the worst, you know I’m very sympathetic to where the parents are coming from," Hamm said.
“There’s two sides of the coin, I understand why parents don’t want to pay for the care they’re not receiving, but it holds that space for that child. And on the other side of that coin, you’ve got the business owner. I have 12 families who depend on me to keep our doors open.”
“We need a cash flow from a source that we’re not receiving now, so something from the state would be very helpful. Also, parents need to understand what daycare policies are, understand what they’re expecting of you as a parent and what you can expect of them."
Because of our story, Rep. Juanita Brent, Ohio State Representative, District 12, (D), told News 5 she'll bring this issue to the floor of the Ohio House when the next Ohio General Assembly starts its first 2022 session on Jan. 19.
“We as a state have to make those adjustments to deal with this," Brent said. "Parents will have a time when they have to put their children quarantine, people will have to be in quarantine, teachers will have to be in quarantine, and this goes down to the bottom line of how do we take care of the people of Ohio.”
“The State of Ohio, we have to step in and be that necessary resource to these daycare's and also to these families. Childcare is one of the main issues why people are not able to go to work, so this thing of childcare affects everyone. It’s not just a "them" problem for people who have small children, it’s an "us" problem, it’s an Ohio problem.”