Parents scrambling after special needs daycare closes in Little Chute

By Millaine Wells, Local 5 News

Published 08/29 2014 04:49PM

Updated 08/29 2014 06:13PM

LITTLE CHUTE, Wis. (WFRV) - A unique daycare  for people with special needs closed suddenly in Little Chute.

Haven of Hope just celebrated its five year anniversary.

To the staff and families who use the services everything seemed normal.

In fact just this past Wednesday  they conducted job interviews.

However, on Thursday evening board members closed the facility saying they ran out of money.

"My heart sunk, it was very difficult for me because I know how much he likes going to Haven of Hope and how hard we have worked to find a program like that" says Kathie Wegner, whose son attended Haven of Hope.

It was the only facility of its kind in Northeast Wisconsin, offering daycare services to kids and adults with special needs.

"If I had the option of someone coming into my home to care for him as an adult I would not have chosen that over haven, he could get so much more from them. Art projects, activities, they arranged part time jobs for him" explains Carrie Forster. Her son also attended Haven of Hope.  

Parents were notified Thursday the facility was closing immediately. Longtime staff was shocked.

"I felt a lot of things, hurt, anger that I was not asked to help" says Haven of Hope founder, Joyce Luckow. "We have run into situations like this in the past that money was tight and we needed to figure out how to pay the bills".

Though she is the founder of Haven of Hope, Luckow does not sit on the board, saying it is a conflict of interest. She was embarrassed the board delivered the news to parents so abruptly.

"They ushered me out of the building like I did something wrong and they did not let me say goodbye to the employees or the clients" Luckow says with tears in her eyes.   

The facility offered respite to families knowing their loved ones were with trained professionals.

According to Forster "My husband and I could not have both gone to work if we did not have care for him".

It is a difficult change for families to process and especially hard for clients like Jim who thrive on routine.

"It is going to be more time spent with him one on one trying to explain to him why he is not going to go bowling on Fridays any more" Wegner says.

Families will have the chance on Tuesday to go inside Haven of Hope to collect any personal belongings between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.

Nicolet National Bank had recently made a significant contribution to Haven of Hope. They released this statement on Friday:

Nicolet National Foundation, Inc., a public charity formed by Nicolet National Bank expresses disappointment in the closing of Haven of Hope in Appleton, WI. On July 27, 2014, Nicolet National Foundation held its first annual golf outing in Appleton to benefit Haven of Hope. The total donation to Haven of Hope was $49,750.

Mike Daniels, President of Nicolet National Bank said, “We are shocked and very disappointed that Haven of Hope has closed its doors. There are a lot of blanks to fill in and we are doing our best to get some answers. We have offered to consult with Haven of Hope in order that they may continue operations. Our thoughts are with the families and individuals who are affected by the closing.”

Here are the statements from the board of directors:


Due to ongoing operational complexities, Haven of Hope has decided to close its facility immediately effective August 28, 2014. We are deeply apologetic and sad to inform our many 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.

For nearly eight years we have worked hard to serve our families and their children and family members. We are working diligently to identify alternative accommodations for those impacted; in the meantime, families are encouraged to call 211 to get a list of resources. For more information in the coming days, please visit

Joshua M. Koch, board member

On behalf of the board of directors for Haven of Hope


We recognize and realize there are many questions regarding the closure of Haven of Hope and we want to be clear: the immediate closure was due to a lack of funds to continue operations.

As the Board of Directors, we are continuing to look into all options for the future of Haven of Hope, one of which is finding a successor organization or agency to take over operations. At this time, our main focus and priority is on the families and employees affected by this closure and finding alternative resources for them.

As any organization faced with tough situations, this was not an easy decision to come to and, unfortunately, we were unable to find an alternative solution within the time constraints allowed. We are very grateful for the families, staff, and volunteers at Haven of Hope, as we could not have provided safe and compassionate care to children and adults over the years without them.

We will update you as more information becomes available.

Joshua M. Koch, board member

On behalf of the board of directors for Haven of Hope

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