After 21 years operating out of Lafayette High School, the Child Development Resources Center might have to find a new location come August 2019.
Child Development Resources has been in the Historic Triangle since 1965 with the goal of providing early intervention services and affordable child care for infants and toddlers. Often the nonprofit supports low-income families or children with disabilities and educational or physical risk factors.
There are two development centers that CDR operates: one at the Griffin-Yeats Center in Williamsburg and the other at LHS where it occupies a portion of the school’s 900 building on campus.
Child Development Resources started at LHS in 1997 as a partnership with Williamsburg-James City County schools to provide a learning lab for students in the parenting education and child development classes, said Paul Scott, CDR executive director.
When it opened, CDR occupied 1,560 square feet of a room at the school which served 17 preschool children.
Now, the program serves 32 toddlers and infants in four classrooms, as well as with an office and storage space, a kitchen, an age-appropriate playground and an outdoor sensory area.
But in August 2019, these services might have to cease at the high school with the end of the program’s current lease which runs until then.
“Regardless of the situation with the 900 building, CDR and the local school systems will always work hard to ensure the best for the children in our community,” Scott said.
The organization has been on a year-to-year lease at the high school, but at a meeting on Sept. 27, minutes reflect a discussion between School Liaison Committee members for not continuing to renew the lease.
This discussion comes as the division considers its current capacity and building use in regards to all the schools in the district. This is part of a long-range planning program which monitors the potential needs for future space, according to Eileen Cox, WJCC spokeswoman.
While the committee does not make this decision, it facilitates communication between the school board, city council and board of supervisors on certain matters such as not continuing to renew the lease for CDR.
This potential change could pose a potential issue in rent money for the program because at the moment it is able to operate out of LHS free of charge, Scott said. But moving to a new space estimates an additional cost of $67,000 for the program.
Additionally, as an Early Head Start grantee, CDR receives federal funding but is required to generate at least 20 percent of the funding, or $389,566, as a non-federal share through donations. The cost of the rent had contributed largely to that donation percentage in the past, about 17 percent, which the program will now have to replace.
In preparation, the organization has outlined its requirements for a new space but Scott said it might still be difficult because infant and toddler care is expensive and many providers aren’t eager to offer it.
“Our hope is to use the pending move as an opportunity to rethink how we deliver the services in a way that is sustainable, and hopefully find a creative way forward that would allow us to expand the number of children we can serve,” Scott said.
CDR will receive an update on their pending situation at LHS at a meeting with the Board of Directors on Nov. 15