Stepping Stones Learning Center, child care for 500 families, closing Friday

June 28, 2017 06:32 PM

A child care center that serves 500 children in our community, many with special needs, is suddenly closing on Friday. Wednesday, staff and families at Stepping Stones Learning Center in Irondequoit learned that Friday is the last day the center will be open.

Starting in January there was a litany of serious violations levied against Stepping Stones by New York State. According to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services website, those violations have been corrected.

The CEO and founder, Mariellen Cupini, was fired in May.

Wednesday, I called the interim director, Connie Rodriguez. I tried to reach the board chair, Greg George, but neither of them are saying why they are shutting down.

Our community should know why because according to Stepping Stones' website it serves 500 families from all over the area and many of the children have special needs.

Wednesday, staff left the building on Husdon Avenue with boxes that they fit into their cars. Not one of them would stop and talk to me.

But Toussaint Lipton did. His two year old son Kayden goes to Stepping Stones. Kayden has autism. Lipton learned about the closing today.

Toussaint Lipton, son attends Stepping Stones: It's kind of disheartening. Trying to find another place like this for my child who suffers from Autism is going to be kind of hard. But that's life, things happen. I understand. Business is business so you can't get too crazy about it but yeah, it was disheartening.  

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Brean: Is [Kayden] going to need some place by Monday? 

Lipton: Yeah. So we're going to be adamantly looking for a place for him to go.

Lipton said he wasn't told why Stepping Stones is closing Friday. There is a meeting at Stepping Stones for staff and families Thursday night at 6. There will be organizations like Mary Cariola Children's Center there to help get the children into a new center by Monday.


Berkeley Brean

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