CLOSING OUR DOORS
25 YEARS OF EXEMPLARY SERVICE
A Letter from Our Leadership
Updated statement: The Foundation is updating our message to note that our agreements have been with the Delaware Tribe of Indians. The Delaware Tribe of Indians' child care is funded through and reported by the Cherokee Nation's Tribal Child Care and Development Fund program. It is also important to note that the services provided were from July 2020 through June 1, 2021 -- the Foundation has been attempting get reimbursed for allowable CCDF expenditures for nearly two years.
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It is with a very heavy heart that the Washington County Child Care Foundation operating Ivy Academies in Bartlesville (Downtown and West) and Owasso-Sperry will be closing our doors on March 31, 2022. Our leadership and our team have been honored to serve the Bartlesville area and many surrounding communities for 25 years. Providing nationally renowned child care and early learning services to your children and families has been the pinnacle of my 35-year career in education.
As many of you know, I have worked with the Delaware Tribe of Indians since 1997, growing their child care and early learning program from $600,000 to over $10 million dollars annually. The Washington County Child Care Foundation took over as the service provider for the program when the Delaware Tribe lost its Federal recognition in 2005. Since this happened, the Foundation hired me, the Delaware Tribe’s CCDF Program Director, as the Executive Director to continue running the child care services and the services were provided on behalf of the Delaware Tribe of Indians and funded through the Cherokee Nation's Tribal Child Care Development program.
Both prior to the establishment of the Foundation and through 2018, I wrote, was awarded, and managed the construction of all the infrastructure that makes up the Lenape Addition in Bartlesville. I do not share this by way of bragging, but to show how I invested in the Tribe’s growth and success, and not only in child care.
But, in 2019, the Tribe began taking massive action to dismantle the program that we had so successfully grown. This began by being locked out of and forcibly removed from our administrative offices, not even able to retrieve our personal belongings for many months. After two years of negotiations and ongoing conversations with Federal agencies, the Cherokee Nation, and the Delaware Tribe, in June 2021, the Delaware Tribe formally severed relations with the Foundation. However, between July 2020 and June 1, 2021, we were not paid for child care services provided for the Federal Tribal child care program – approximately $4.3 million.
For the past three years, our Foundation, and I, personally, have been beleaguered by unfounded accusations, denial of payments for services provided (including the salaries of our teachers), and public shaming. I assure you that in our 25-year history we have never improperly used any funding – Federal, state, or otherwise. Our core mission continues to be and has always been to serve at the highest level, or not at all.
It is in this spirit that we are closing our doors. We have worked diligently for more than two years to overcome this loss, but we are not willing to provide subpar services to accommodate the loss. And, this loss has been too great to overcome.
Time and time again, the Delaware Tribe has denied reimbursement and has told us they are not responsible for paying for our services despite having requested and committed to paying for them. We had hoped some resolution would arrive from communications this past week, but we were met again with delay tactics and refusal of information. We have diligently reached out to Federal leadership at the White House, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Child Care, the Office of Early Childhood Development, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and numerous legislative offices. Those communications, too, have been met mostly with silence.
I and my leadership team have worked tirelessly over the past two and a half years to mitigate this issue. Our staff, every single one of them, have served each of our communities with integrity and dignity, especially under these circumstances with the Tribe and during a global pandemic.
Together, with each of you, we have proudly cared for thousands of children in our community, serving not only Delaware Tribal families, but also families from each of the 13 Tribes in our service area, new Americans, and all other families in our community from all creeds, backgrounds, and histories.
I am honored to have created this program and am deeply saddened that it has been dismantled in this way. While I am saddened to be closing our doors, I am walking away from this part of my life’s work with gratitude for the opportunity to serve you and our community and appreciation for the strides we made in the field of child care and early learning.
I know that this short notice leaves many of you with limited options, and, for that, I am incredibly apologetic. I have always held hope that our work and partnership with the Tribes would be held in higher regard and respect. I know many of you may have questions about what happened, we have linked additional information and context below.
While we work through the requirements for closing out, we will have limited ability to respond to each of you who may have questions. We have opened up an email address for you to send your questions and comments to in the link below.
If you would like to express your sentiments with the Delaware Tribe, we recommend reaching out to its Tribal Council here. We encourage you to reach out to our Congressional leaders to share what has happened to your family because of this situation. You can find their information by putting in your address here.
We have provided links below for you to contact us and download the History of Our Work and How We Came To Closing.
© 2022 by Washington County Child Care Foundation
Ivy Learning and Ivy Academies | Formerly Delaware Child Development