Parents scramble to find replacement care after Stepping Stones closes

July 04, 2017 06:54 AM

Last week, hundreds of parents in our area got devastating news. Stepping Stones Learning Center in Irondequoit announced it was closing down without warning. The closure leaves hundreds of parents without care for their children, many of them with special needs. So what's next for these parents?

Colleen O' Connell was one of at least 500 parents who were notified last week that their child's learning center was no longer open because of financial problems. O’Connell has four children, three of which are on the autism spectrum.

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Since the closure, she says Stepping Stones officials have done very little to make sure there would be no gap in services.

When officials announced they were closing the doors, they held a meeting to connect parents with resources to find other care options for the students. However, O'Connell says the meeting didn't accomplish much.

"I feel for those parents, because I in my heart know what they're going through and different disabilities pose different needs they were able to and trained to have all those needs met,” O’Connell said. “Coming into a holiday weekend and holiday week, and people being gone, these families are in a bind.”

Representatives from Mary Cariola Children's Center, Holy Childhood, Rochester YMCA, and Happiness House were all at the meeting and said they had spots for children, but not nearly as many as Stepping Stones once had.

O'Connell offered another solution, the child care center she works at, Sunshine Village Day Care Center also accepts children with special needs.


Kaci Jones

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