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Enrollment flucuates at day care centers
The quiet scene Monday at Kings Square Academy day care center at 817 Newcastle St. in Brunswick would have looked much different a year ago.

Owner Pam Stewart said last year at this time, she had 35 children enrolled in her program.

This year that number has dropped to around 10, largely because parents of the children attending her center lost jobs.

"The recession has definitely hurt us," Stewart said.

She and her volunteer helper, Harriette Miller, sat at a child's table with 4-year-old Jessica Mora and her 7-year-old brother, Alan Mora, crafting paper turkeys during Monday's Veterans Day, a school holiday in Glynn County, a time when Stewart usually sees more children in her facility.

"If parents are unemployed, they don't need day care and they can't afford it," Stewart said. "In a thriving economy, people would go to work, and I would see a bump when school was out."

That does not happen anymore.

The enrollment drop has forced Stewart to lay off employees.

Other day care centers in the community report similar enrollment issues.

But while privately operated day care centers might be suffering, subsidized programs offering after-school care for school-aged children have seen enrollment soar.

Brian Dolan, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Georgia, said since the Great Recession of 2008, he has seen enrollment increase by about 10 percent.

The amount parents pay for day care at the Boys and Girls Club, which also receives funding from United Way of Coastal Georgia, is based on income.

Currently the club serves roughly 1,300 children in Glynn County at eight locations.

Many children are referred to the club by other community organizations, Dolan said, which is why the rate structure fluctuates based on the needs of the family.

"We will never turn a family away because they can't afford it," Dolan said.

Dolan said he adds employees as necessary.

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