Employees from three Hartford hospitals are upset following the announcement that their on-site day care facility will be closing this summer.
The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center “Kids Are Great” facility is shared by employees from CCMC, Hartford Hospital and the Institute of Living. The hospital says times are tough and with less than 1% of their employees using the facility, the center just doesn’t fit into their future plans.
However, employees are crying foul , saying it’s flexible hours and location are a major factor in allowing them to balance a busy work and life balance.
A mother of two, Amanda Zaleski, says she relies on the cost and convenience that the center provides. She works just across the street at Hartford Hospital as an exercise physiologist.
“It weighed heavily in my family planning decision knowing it was there,” said Zaleski, who drops her 6-month old Zoey off at the day care. “I know a lot of people who choose to have kids because they were relying on that as their source of child care.”
Close to 100 families from the three hospitals use the facility. CCMC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Theresa Hendricksen says only 13 employees from her hospital take advantage of the center. She says the majority of families come from Hartford Hospital. She says it was not an “overnight decision” by the administration to close the facility at the end of August.
“We know that this is a hardship for the families. That’s why we tried to give them four months notice. So that they would have time to look for adequate facilities for their children.”
Zaleski says a number a families are writing letters to CCMC CEO Martin Galvin and Hartford Hospital CEO Jeffrey Flaks.She says she put her child on the waiting list as soon as she heard she was pregnant. She says the center’s flexible hour and convenient on-site location allow her to continue on with her career.
“I really just don’t believe they know the magnitude of this decision. We have a lot of people that work out of state and it’s their only option.”
Beth Parker dropped her two children off at the day care from the time they were 4 months to 5 years old. She says the facility is part of the reason she chose to work at Hartford Hospital.
“I knew i’d be working long hours. I knew I was a female in a male dominated profession. The ability to have my kids there on campus was something that would make my return to work much more feasible.”
Now, families are hoping the hospital administration will re-consider the decision, even if it means paying higher tuition or re-locating. There is also concern for what will become of the nearly 20 employees, who Zaleski and Parker say have become “family”.
The hospital says they are talking with employees and working on placing them in other positions in the hospital. While Hendricksen says the chances are “unlikely” that the decision will be reversed, the families affected are keeping up hope.
“I wish a dialogue occured earlier but hopefully it can now,” says Zaleski. “We can come to some sort of agreement so we can feel like we don’t have to weigh our work life and our family life.”