When parents need to work, daycare is typically an option. But sometimes children require more specialized medical care, and in that case, the options are a lot more limited. We visited one daycare center in Lackawanna County specializing in caring for some very special children.
The inside of Trinity Childcare Center, on Boulevard Avenue in Scranton is bright and colorful, a perfect place for kids to learn and have fun while mom and dad are at work. But this place, which opened just last summer, is different from other daycare centers.
"Every morning when they come in we do a full assessment of them, blood pressure, heart rate, check their lungs, we administer medication," said Michelle Johnston, the director of Trinity, which is part of St. Joseph's Center in Lackawanna County. Johnston says the children here are medically fragile, so staffing includes not only child care attendants and volunteers, but nursing staff as well. Kids here get one-on-one attention, not to mention whatever occupational, physical, or speech therapy they may need.
"It's amazing to see the difference in the children in just a short amount of time that we've been here. Some are crawling now, saying new words, learning new signs," Johnston told us.
Normally there are ten children here daily, but because of the snowy weather only four showed up on this day. One of them, the handsome little man in the tux, is six-month-old Riley. I ask his mom to tell me a little bit about him.
"He's really adorable, as you can tell," said Alison Kandrovy with a smile. She says she and her husband have to work, but Riley has significant needs: he has what's called excellent hydrocephalus, or fluid on his brain. The "excellent" refers to its hereditary nature. Alison says it's very rare, and that little Riley will only live to be a year or two.
But she chooses to celebrate the little things, like the fact that Riley can now eat with a spoon, something doctors told her he'd never do.
"He's doing very well, I think part of the reason he's doing so well is because of this place. We came here and I didn't even look anywhere else, after I came here. I was like, this is where he's gotta be," she says.
Right now Riley is the youngest child at the center at six months, and the oldest is five-and-a-half. Trinity Childcare is licensed to care for those up to age 21, but officials have set a limit at eight years old for now, and say they are currently working on new enrollments.