By WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve

BOSTON (CBS) – Finding good child care can be a huge problem and now experts say dozens and dozens of programs in the city of Boston are in danger of closing. Why? Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve says child care providers blame an innovative program started by the Boston Public Schools.

“I would be struggling dearly,” says Julie River, “honestly I would not know what to do.”

Rivera depends on Crispus Attucks, a respected child care center in Dorchester, to watch her 14-month-old daughter Melanie while she is at work. But now the center itself is in danger of closing, so Julie and other parents are quite concerned.

Bianca Williams is one of those parents. She says, “To be honest I would probably lose my job because I have no one else to watch Eva.”

Child care experts say this recent problem stems from an innovative program started by the Boston Public Schools in 2006 for four year olds. It is known as K-1. It’s free and over time more than 2,300 kids have signed up. But that leaves community preschool programs like Crispus Attucks with 44 empty seats.

Myra Oria is the Executive Director of Crispus Attucks. She says that, “That bottom line impacts the ability to keep the lights on.”

And it is not just Crispus Attucks, Myra Oria says she believes 100 programs in the city of Boston are at risk.

Jason Sachs oversees the Boston Public Schools K-1 program. “The odds are more likely that public schools can do a better job,” he says.

He admits some child care centers may fail, but suggests at age four, the emphasis needs to be on education not day care.

“The field, child care, Crispus Attucks, were designed in part to help women join the work force,” says Sachs. “But they were not necessarily designed for young children’s brains in order for them to have high school success.”

However, without the four year olds and the tuition they pay, child care centers say they will not be able to care for infants and toddlers either, creating another serious problem.

So what is the solution? Boston Public Schools are now testing a pilot program which cares for kids from the time they are an infant until they are five years old.



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