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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
Parents know how hard it is to find a daycare facility when they have months to plan. For some families in Belmont that turned to days when the operator of Great Beginnings Child Development Center decided to close the doors.
That is how more than two dozen families found themselves after daycare staff received a letter on March 8th from their boss, Suzanne Mitz.
It stated the last day for care would be March 22nd. Staff say Mitz told them money and personal reasons were to blame. They passed the word on to parents who started to scramble to find other care.
Then another blow Thursday night in a test to staff members. They say Mitz told them she'd close the next day, Friday the 15th, instead.
"She said she was sorry that she had no other choice but a deposit she thought she would get would not be enough to get by," said Alana Steelman who has worked at the daycare for about a year and read the text to WBTV.
We visited the daycare and could not find Mitz. A call to her cell phone was not returned. When we visited her house we were told she was not home.
Staff members say in her absence they have been calling several centers in the area to see if they could take the children. Many of the children have found a new place to care for them. Some have not.
"I understand that she is burned out but she really could have handled this transition better and told us months ago," says another staff member, Cassie Alexander.
Now many of the families have an additional question. Will they be reimbursed for care they've paid for that they have never received?
Staff members say they haven't been paid on time either.
"We are supposed to get paid today but we're not getting paid and we're here in spite of it because the kids need somewhere to go," Alexander said.
We did reach out to the Better Business Bureau and they say Great Beginnings has an A-plus rating with them.
They say parents who paid tuition in advance by credit card may have some recourse getting their money back but they'll have a harder time if they paid in advance by check, debit card or cash.