KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Pandarama Daycare in Kansas City, Kan., is in the midst of its second battle against the state in one year.
In January, the owners tried to block the Department of Corrections from moving a parole office with the handful of sex offenders next to their daycare facility.
Now, The Department of Children and Families plans to terminate their contract with the daycare after 37 years.
"It's going to be very difficult but we're going to try real hard not to close down,” owner Morris Sipple said.
He and his wife Carolyn opened the daycare in 1976. They said since then, they’ve had a contract with DCF to provide day care services to low income families who are eligible to receive childcare subsidy benefits. These families represent 60 percent of the Sipple’s business.
Parents also received letters from DCF notifying them that Pandarama will no longer be a DCF provider. Many parents are frustrated with the decision to terminate the daycare’s contract.
“I’m a single mother with four kids. I know that we can’t afford another daycare and I’ve looked. It’s ridiculous, and there’s no facilities accepting applications,” mother Elizabeth Haywood said.
“It’s frustrating, and no explanation in a month time. Why? What is the case of that?” mother Clarice Angelo asked.
The state did not give a reason why it is terminating the contract, so Morris and Carolyn requested a formal hearing from the Department of Children and Families.
They never heard back from the state. Sipple connected with local attorneys who filed a request to expedite a formal hearing.
In a statement from a spokesperson from the Department of Children and Families,
"We cannot discuss specific cases. DCF enrolls child care providers to provide care for families who are eligible to receive child care subsidy benefits. DCF does terminate these agreements. Possible reasons for these terminations include: KDHE enforcement action is taken, examples would be their license is suspended or revoked. Others include: Continued violations of child care licensing policies and/or DCF Provider enrollment requirements."
Earlier this year, state representative Valdenia Winn helped the Sipple’s win their first battle with the state.
Winn questions the state’s motives behind its decision to terminate the contract.
“Something isn’t right. Families are being disrupted. This is not policy. This isn’t sound thoughtful, caring family centered policy.”
Representative Winn has contacted the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families.
Pandarama daycare serves about 100 children.