Town looks to tweak child care options

— Colonie Youth Center, Inc. is poised to take over town-run after-school programs and summer camp duties, but some parents are worried about how the new arrangement would affect their children and voiced their concerns at the Thursday, May 17, Town Board meeting.

“Parents are very upset, have been extremely happy with the counselors and program and are very concerned that things are going to change with contracting it out,” said Gabrielle Armenia. “If parents wanted to be in a CYC program, we would have chosen that option.”

But town officials are assuring parents that their children would notice virtually no change if the private Colonie Youth Center takes over and said CYC has agreed to run the programs the same way the town currently does.

“Part of this agreement is that CYC will continue to run the program at the community center as it has been run,” said Sarah Wiest, public information officer for the Town of Colonie.

Still, Armenia said parents aren’t 100 percent comforted by CYC’s promise to keep things unchanged.

“I know we’ve been assured things will remain the same initially but there’s no promise it’ll remain that way in the future,” said Armenia.

Under existing arrangements, there are three similar options for wraparound programs (before- or after-school programs) in the town. CYC operates in the North and South Colonie Central School Districts and the town runs its own programs out of the community center on Central Avenue.

The town has partnered with CYC on youth service programs since 1965 and doles out $125,000 each year to help support the organization.

“Conversations about doing this have been going on over time and part of it is, what is the best way to eliminate duplication of services in the town? What is the best way to offer the strongest program to all students in the town at the same time?” said Wiest.

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