A new infant care center has opened in Ceres that doesn't exactly fit the norm.
For starters, the Christian based center, operated by the Kidz Ministry Foundation, offers services to families for the care of six weeks to two year olds.
For another, they offer Saturday service.
Thirdly, they accept what government pays social services recipients without making parents cough up the difference.
"We can structure our fees to help parents," said Cabrera. "A lot of the schools will accept the government aid and then the difference between the aid and what their rates are they will charge. We don't do that."
Director/owner Brenda Cabrera said the center is fully staffed with credentialed employees and raring to go. They just need infants to look after.
"I have a full staff," said Cabrera, who has been a director in the Bay Area for about five years. "It's ready. We would open if we had children."
One child is enrolled to start July 2 but there is room for 15.
The center is located in an 880-square-foot former home building at 2545 Third Street, to the north of the Ceres Library. Services are offered weekdays 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays. Cabrera said services can range from part-time mornings to full-time five or six days a week.
"We are very flexible," she said.
Hourly drop-offs and rates are available.
Kidz is licensed with the state of California Department of Social Services as an infant center and declares that its purpose is to "provide a high-quality, safe and nurturing environment for young children and families throughout the community with a Christian emphasis." Objectives include building a trusting relationship with children and their families, maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment for all children which allows them to explore and engage in a variety of activities designed to promote growth and development, and providing developmentally age appropriate activities that are based on individual abilities and interests.
Cabrera, who has a degree in Child Development, said the center's teachers are nurturing and responsive to needs of all the children and that a home atmosphere is provided that allows teachers to observe how each child's day is progressing. Accurate daily log books are used as one way of sharing information with parents about their child's day.
Cabrera tried a year to get a preschool up and running in Riverbank but met with a series of obstacles, including City Hall. But the city of Ceres was very accommodating "every step of the way," she said. While Ceres has 60 licensed day cares, there were only 24 licensed infant spots, making Ceres ripe for need.
"I know the Lord put me here for a reason," said Cabrera. "It's a good feeling."
Lisa Yankovich, who has a master's degree in Early Childhood Education, is the site supervisor. Erica Gil is a teacher and Joddie Zuroff, Evelyn Landeros and Lisa Lomas are all aides.
An open house is planned for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday with refreshments served.
For more information on the center visit www.kidz-care.com or call 523-KIDZ.
"We do plan to grow from 3 to 6 years old as soon as we can."