Child care center on NYC hospital's campus to close after negotiations stall

The child care center that has operated for a decade on the campus of NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst (N.Y.) is closing after negotiations between the hospital and the center's operator broke down, according to The City.

The Little Elms Child Care Center, run by national child care services provider Bright Horizons, has been operating rent-free on the hospital's campus for 10 years, and many of the parents using its services are hospital employees.

While Bright Horizons did not comment on the reason for the center's closure, a spokesperson for New York City-based NYC Health + Hospitals, the Elmhurst hospital's parent, told The City that consensus on a renewed contract with Bright Horizons could not be reached. The center offered scholarships and services to hospital employees at reduced rates in exchange for being able to operate rent-free on the hospital's campus.

One of the sticking points in negotiations was Bright Horizons' request that the hospital pay $50,000 in exchange for the hospital's request that Bright Horizons set a minimum number of scholarships for hospital employees, according to emails obtained by The City.

Initially, the center told parents to make new arrangements for child care by March 27, but amid pushback, the date was extended to June 30.

Sarah Morelli, a midwife at the Elmhurst hospital, told The City that having on-site child care and reduced fees were an important factor in her decision to "take a big pay cut" to work at the city-run facility.

"It was fantastic to have him right there, it made a huge difference for my family," she said.

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