NJ’s health system is closing on-site childcare facilities this fall
New Jersey’s largest health care provider confirmed Friday it will shut down childcare operations at its facilities at the end of September, while a petition to overturn the decision garnered thousands of signatures in about a day.
In a statement, Hackensack Meridian Health said it decided to “focus our efforts on our core mission of patient care,” and told New Jersey 101.5 that its daycare facilities are scheduled to close on September 30.
The decision was made “after well-considered and careful consideration of all options”, but HMH cited the staffing in particular as a challenge.
“Hackensack Meridian Health will provide a six-month grant to affected team members. In addition, the network has agreed a discount with a major child care provider,” the statement said, without naming the provider at this time.
However, these provisions were not sufficient for a Change.org user using the “HMH FORLIFE” handle started a petition Thursday, which had collected more than 6,000 signatures by Friday evening.
“They prefer money to family – as well as patient care,” the petition says, calling the decision “completely unacceptable.”
Some comments from petition signatories were even more pointed.
“My son went to daycare near my facility and they still have teachers/carers who looked after him as a toddler. He’s 25 now!” Jennifer Cotter wrote.
“The reasons for the closure make no sense for a number of reasons,” said signer Emily Totaro.
Both sides agreed that the change does not reflect the “dedication and excellence of the childcare teams,” which the petition said was a phrase in a letter to staff.
Patrick Lavery is a reporter and host for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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