Special needs daycare out of money

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. - A special needs daycare is on its last dime. 5 on Your Side first told you about the Mini School of Jefferson County last week. Dozens of children may have nowhere to go if the school closes.

It's pay day for the staff, but they're not going to get a paycheck. They've decided to come back Thursday anyway, hoping somehow, in some way, the money will come soon.

The woman who founded the Mini School more than 40 years ago wears her stress under her smile and on her shoulders. She can't pay the staff, and she's just paying the bills, one by one, as much as she can.

An old tax bill, parents who haven't paid, and the high cost of special needs children pushed the Mini School into the red.

"We go in the hole up to $20,000 with the foster care children," said Voss.

The state sends foster care children to the school because sometimes, it's the only place where they are accepted. Other daycares either don't or won't accept them. The state pays for the foster care children but it isn't enough. Voss has to pay the difference between what the state pays and how much it actually costs to take care of the children. But she won't turn any child away.

She can't say to little Noah, or to three girls whose mother is addicted to drugs, or to Andrew.

"I used to live with my foster parents, they turned me down and said they didn't want me anymore," said Andrew.

The children are the reason staff members will keep going to work at the mini school without a paycheck.

A viewer suggested the school set up a GoGundMe campaign after our last story. Here is a link.

They've only raised $1,000. They need to raise $25,000.


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