Parents hoping to keep the on-site child care centers at Hackensack Meridian Health facilities have won a major battle but can not yet claim victory.

Hackensack Meridian Health will keep its on-site child care facilities open beyond December after receiving “thoughtful input from our team members and the community," according to a statement obtained by New Jersey 101.5.

Hackensack Meridian Health first announced in July that the centers would close at the end of September citing staffing issues that are faced by many childcare providers. The decision set off protests from parents who count on the center’s extended hours to accommodate their sometimes unusual work schedules. The closure was delayed until December.

In a statement to New Jersey 101.5, the healthcare company said that it is committed to finding a solution that maintains on-site child care at the existing locations in Brick, Edison, Hackensack, Neptune, Red Bank and Palisades. Until a final solution is found the facilities will stay open.

“Our leaders are continuing to evaluate all options with this goal in mind,” read the statement.

Statement from Hackensack Meridian Health about its on-site childcare centers
Statement from Hackensack Meridian Health about its on-site childcare centers
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Viable solutions could include 'adjustments'

It does not appear that operations at the child care facilities will completely go back to what they were before the announcement.  The statement also reads that “all viable solutions may include adjustments to our current operations" but did not give any specifics.

The decision set off protests from parents who had to scramble to find new care and more expensive care for their children. Hackensack said it had arranged for a discounted rate with an unnamed childcare provider. The company would also provide a six-month subsidy to those who needed help financially.

Many parents joined a Facebook group, Save HMH Childcare.

An online petition was also posted to get Hackensack Meridian Health to reconsider its decision.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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