LITTLE CHUTE - With the Haven of Hope in Little Chute now closed families of the center's special needs adult and child clients are scrambling.
Board members of Haven of Hope have said they closed the center because they didn't have the money to keep going. The move left nearly 100 families in a lurch, and wondering where they can now turn for help.
Kevin Flottmeyer got a shock when he picked up his son Sam from Haven of Hope Thursday.
"Saying we're closing at 6 and we're gonna be closed for good. It's just totally out of the blue!" exclaimed Flottmeyer.
Sam has autism. The family relied on the center to care for him when they couldn't.
Since Thursday Flottmeyer and his wife Katie have been on the phone a lot.
"Talking to social workers, talking to Sam's special education teacher. Looking at other providers, but I get the impression that other providers are no being bombarded because Haven of Hope is now closed. So they're trying to help, but all of that takes time,' Flottmeyer explained.
That's where organizations like Outagamie County Health and Human Services, Child Care Resource and Referral of the Fox Valley and United Way Fox Cities are stepping in.
For example, you can pick up the phone any time of day and dial 211 to access someone with United Way.
"If they call us and talk to one of our referral agents, they'll be able to find what they're looking for and refer them to the right agencies. We try to find the right resources, the best fit for their needs," explained Michelle Pierquet-Hohner the 211 Manager for United Way Fox Cities.
But cost is a big concern for families.
Flottmeyer told FOX 11 Haven of Hope kept costs low by relying heavily on donations.
The average price for childcare in Outagamie County is $150 to $215 per week, that's according to 2013 numbers from Child Care Resource and Referral of the Fox Valley.
Flottmeyer told us for someone with special needs, that can only get more expensive.
"It can, I mean, it can be very pricey," he said.
"That is something that we talk with the individual on the telephone about. Finding out what their needs are, whether they have insurance, don't have insurance," explained Pierquet-Hohner.
Flottmeyer told us he has next week figured out for Sam, but the future is still uncertain.
"He can't get on his bike and ride home at the end of the school day. He can't go to the boys club and shoot hoops, you know, for an hour 'til I come get him. That's where Haven of Hope filled in those gaps."
Now it's a matter of finding somewhere else to fill the gaps long-term.
Haven of Hope's board members say they are searching for another organization to take over operations. It's unclear when or if that could happen.
They released a statement. It said in part, “We are deeply apologetic to inform our families, donors and employees of this decision. All of us have been working hard toward a different outcome, but in the end weren’t able to come to another solution.”