After 44 years, one of Havelock’s longest running child care centers will close its doors next month.

The Craven-Cherry Point Child Development Center (CCPCDC), which has been part of the Havelock community since 1974, will close on June 30, according to Kathy Edgerton, Easterseals UCP chief communications officer. The center is part of Easterseals UCP N.C. & Virginia, which offers a range of services to children and adults with disabilities and their families throughout the two states.

According to Edgerton, recent cuts in federal and state funding were the major factors in the decision to close the center, which employs seven staff members and serves 20 children, seven with special needs. She said the center was working with families to find new care facilities for their children.

“We’re simply no longer getting the financial support we need to continue,” said Edgerton. “We’re working with the families to make sure their kids are placed in good environments where they can learn and grow. We want the transition to be as easy as it can be.”

Although Easterseals UCP is known for its work with children with disabilities, CCPCDC provides an inclusive program for typical learners as well as children with special needs. Edgerton explained that one of the goals of CCPCDC and similar centers is to bring together special needs and typically developing children to create an atmosphere of acceptance. She acknowledged that losing that supportive environment would be a “big blow” for the Havelock community.

“The program at the Child Development Center changes their whole concept of people, they’re not seen as special needs or different, they’re just seen as kids,” said Edgerton.

After the decision was made to close the center on April 26, parents were notified personally and given a letter to facilitate their child’s enrollment in another development center, said Edgerton.

“We wanted to tell each parent personally what was happening and not just send them a letter in the mail,” she commented.