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North Carolina Could Lose Hundreds Of Child Care Centers Unless Legislature Takes Action

Source: WRAL

Hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid for child care centers across North Carolina will run out at the end of this month, leaving hundreds of centers at risk of closing.

If Congress fails to renew funding by June 30, almost 3 in 10 child care centers throughout North Carolina will be forced to close once the pandemic-era grants expire.

“Parents are on edge,” stated Democratic Senator Dan Blue. “That’s why it’s so critical that we send a clear message — now — that these centers can plan on remaining open. So parents don’t have to start making decisions to leave jobs.”

Last month, Sen. Blue urged Republican legislative leaders to act soon, as business owners, families, and advocates have raised concerns about the loss of child care and jobs. 

“Child care is the foundation of a thriving economy. If people cannot afford to have their children come to a safe place to a school, then people cannot afford to work, and the economy is going to crumble,” Krys Remaley, Little Makers Academy Assistant Director, told ABC 11

Since 2020, North Carolina has lost 203 licensed child care programs statewide, according to a report by EdNC. This number may increase to over 1,000 if the legislature or Congress does not intervene. 

According to WRAL, last year, an early draft of the budget by Republicans in the state House proposed $10 million for child care — a fraction of the $200 million for child care stabilization grant proposed by NC Governor Roy Cooper in his budget.

Ultimately, the funding was cut from the budget at some point during the secret negotiations between House and Senate Republican leaders.

“Our child care center is facing a heartbreaking dilemma. The rising cost of everything, from supplies to staff compensation, threatens our ability to maintain quality. While families are also struggling, raising tuition to offset the loss of stabilization grants simply isn’t an option,” said Norma Honeycutt, Executive Director of Partners in Learning, in a statement

“High-quality child care shouldn’t be a luxury. Child Care Stabilization Grants are a lifeline, allowing us to invest in our staff and keep those nurturing classrooms open for all families. Without Child Care Stabilization Grants, the equation is simple: fewer qualified teachers equals a drop in quality. Let’s choose to nurture the next generation.”


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