Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Child Care Center grows after YMCA takeover

Courtesy of UWO Flickr / The UWO Child Care center closed this spring before the YMCA absorbed the initiative.

On May 5, UW Oshkosh’s Chancellor Andrew Leavitt announced that the Children’s Learning and Care Center would be closing permanently. The decision left many families grappling with the fact that they’d be losing their childcare in the middle of a childcare crisis.

 Not long after the announcement, the Oshkosh YMCA announced they would be partnering with UWO to keep the Center open with uninterrupted service. 

At the time that the closure was announced, the Center was licensed for 150 children while only 50 were enrolled. Now, the YMCA has the center licensed for 138 children and as of November 10, 72 are enrolled. 

“Our first goal was to, you know, come in and maintain the current families that were a part of the Center, which we’ve done,” Oshkosh YMCA’s Director of Children and Family Services Erin Baranek said. 

As of right now, the Center is entering phase two: opening up new rooms and enrolling more community members to take advantage of the Center. So far, the increase in enrollment has all been community members. 

“Our goal is to get to 138,” Baranek said. “So (we’re) continuing to hire new staff and get new families.”

When the YMCA took over, there was concern that students would no longer be employed there. 

“They (still) are!” Baranek said. “They would go through our whole YMCA hiring process with interviewing, references, background checks, completing all the necessary paperwork and training. But yes, absolutely.” 

Since taking over, all but two of the previous staff members chose to keep their positions and somewhere between 15 and 20 new staffers were hired.

“We need to make sure that ratios and classrooms are maintained but we’re flexible,” Baranek said. “We understand that some (staff) are still in school so we’re flexible with that.” 

If prospective staff are education majors, their curriculum will take care of a portion of their training. However, the Center will hire anyone regardless of their major. Non-education majors are required to fill out extra training workbooks. 

Kim Stelzer was promoted to childcare director at the UWO location. All other employees were new hires or people who already held positions. 

“We’re here for our community, you know,” Baranek said.

As soon as the statement was released, Baranek and her staff started receiving calls from concerned community members.

“You could just hear it and feel the emotion …” Baranek said. “So we wanted to be able to continue with those families and with those staff and be able to supply childcare (because) there is such a crisis. I mean, at the end of the day, this is what we wanted to do, to be able to help the community, help the staff here, help the families here.”

Baranek said the university has been great from a partnership standpoint. 

“(They) have been very accommodating and good to work with,” Baranek said. “From a Y standpoint, we’ve had nothing but positive interactions with them.”

To enroll your child in the Center you must submit all necessary forms to the Centers office. For more information, visit

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