PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Childcare can be expensive. So when a free service ends on September 30 for some Portsmouth families, they are left figuring out what to do next.

“It was one of the biggest reliefs that I’ve had as a single mother to know that the Parks and Rec program was offering this program after school,” said Portsmouth parent Catherine Zinsner.

Zinsner has a second grader in Portsmouth Public Schools. The relief she had turned into stress because she found out on Monday, the free after-school program would no longer be offered. Zinsner learned about the change through an email from PPS, not Parks and Rec.

“My stomach dropped because now I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Zinsner. “I have to scramble to find out where I can send him.”

10 On Your Side reached out to PPS and Parks & Rec. PPS said it wasn’t clear Parks and Rec was planning to host a full-service after-school program at Churchland, Churchland Primary & Intermediate and Park View elementary schools.

After the first week of class, PPS said staff immediately contacted the program leader to let them know they would have to close their program by the end of September.

Parks and Rec said on August 25, their staff received confirmation from the Portsmouth Public School Operations staff that their request to operate recreational programming, “School House Rec.”, was approved for Churchland Elementary, Churchland Primary, Parkview Elementary, Brighton Elementary, Cradock Elementary, and Waterview Elementary.

Parks and Rec said they were informed on September 13 that their program had to discontinue at schools. Pre-existing contracts were in place with AlphaBest on September 13.

“I don’t know where the ball was dropped there, but everybody lost communication,” Zinsner. “Lost everything and then there are parents left to pick up all the pieces.”

The AlphaBest Program offers financial assistance, however, Zinsner said after working two jobs, she doesn’t meet the qualifications.

“I have people who can help me, but I know there are other families that don’t,” said Zinsner. “I only have one child, but what about people that have two, three to four that are in this program?”

PPS said they will make sure to work directly with Parks and Rec staff to confirm program site selection before the start of the year.