TEMPLE, Texas – Parents in Bell County are struggling to find a place to care for their children after a popular daycare suddenly closed this week.

First Christian Church Preschool has been serving the Temple area for over 25 years. It left parents shocked when the school suddenly had to close it’s doors – leaving them with little to no time to find a replacement.

“I was searching for months. Every day care in Temple is majorly understaffed,” said parent Heather Fry.

Fry’s son used to attend First Church Preschool – but when COVID-19 hit, she had to find other plans.

“It was pretty bad. Thankfully, I work at a family business. So I have it easier than other moms or single moms who don’t have that type of teamwork. Unfortunately, not everyone has that. So I think I was blessed on that side of things, but other people I know can be a major struggle – especially if there’s not a father or a mother involved. Cause I was able enough and lucky to stay at home some days when we weren’t able to find a babysitter,” said Fry.

The preschool sent out an email Monday to families announcing they were shutting down because of understaffing.

In the letter, they say they had an “unannounced visit from child care licensing” and found two administrators in violation who are no longer on staff.

The sudden shutdown left parents scrambling to find a place with openings which meet their location and payment needs.

“I was looking for probably four months. I’m still on a few waiting lists, but my best friend’s daycare, the one she works at, I know the waiting is probably like a four-month list right now – four or five months,” said Fry.

In a statement to FOX44 News, Fist Church Preschool says:

“Current economic conditions have made it difficult for us to maintain the ratio between accredited teachers and children.”

First Christian Church

“I know with daycares it’s harder to find people to work there, but I know plenty of people are capable. I just don’t know why, but it seems to be constant for all the daycares in this area,” said Fry.

Other daycares in Bell County are trying to accommodate as many children as they can. If you are a parent struggling to find daycare, here are some options for you: