DISD steps in to help parents when nonprofit cancels after-school childcare

Some Dallas ISD principals and teachers are helping working parents with a sudden childcare issue.

Educators are providing after-school child care at a couple of campuses after the nonprofit that was doing it stopped with little warning.

FOX 4 first reported about the issue Monday night on FOX 4 News.

The move first made on Tuesday is a temporary one, but DISD administrators say they’re determined to find a long term solution that ensures the families of 22 students have an after school program they can count on for the rest of the school year.

Parents who were left in the lurch with the abrupt cancellation of an after-school program run by the Camp Fire nonprofit got news Tuesday morning that DISD was stepping up and assigning a teacher to keep their children after all.

“I didn’t even expect something so quick to happen,” said Courtney Porter, a Preston Hollow parent. “It’s changed everything.”

Children not in an after-school program have to be picked up no later than 3:15 p.m. Porter doesn’t get out of work until 3:30 p.m. to pick up her son.

“I didn’t really know what I was going to do. I was just sort of going to have to wing it. Hope that he could sit outside for the afternoon and wait till I got here,” she said. “So now we have an option. It’s perfect. It worked out!”

Families of 12 children at Preston Hollow and ten at nearby Gooch Elementary say they weren’t notified by Camp Fire until the last day of school before the holiday break and given no alternative.

Camp Fire told FOX 4 it canceled the program because the minimum enrollment for the programs at those schools were not met.

Principal Vincent Garcia says DISD agreed to pay a teacher to stay late and possibly add one to another after-school program called St. Simon, that is currently at capacity.

“We start today so that all the students that were affected by the Camp Fire after-school program will maintain care from today through Friday and even next week if needed,” he said. “We are still working with the program to make sure we find something long term for the entire spring semester.”

Carlos Sotilo is another parent who spent the Christmas break stressing over what he was going to do about after-school care for his daughter, Mia.

“This is a relief! Weight off the shoulders because everything can somewhat go back to normal,” he said. “Bottom line: I’m ecstatic about it. Glad they worked something out and that they responded the way they did.”

Principal Garcia says he asked for volunteers on his staff to work with the interim program Tuesday morning and several teachers told him they are willing to do it if needed.

The Camp Fire parents had been paying $60 a week. But at least for now, DISD is offering the after school program for free.