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Day care faces cuts

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake County Human Services may force nearly 900 children out of day care because of a $2 million budget shortfall, the News & Observer reported Dec. 8.

The cuts, which would first hit children ages five to 12 in before-school and after-school subsidized day-care programs, take effect Feb. 1.

Many local parents cannot afford day care, so losing the subsidized program might mean their children either would stay at home alone or a parent would have to quit a job.

“And what can you do sitting at home to better your children?” parent Samantha Moore told the newspaper. “How are you going to feed them? You’ll quit your job, you’ll stay at home with the children and you’ll go on assistance.”

Wake Human Services, which gets its funding from state and federal government, is looking to other departments for extra funds, and is asking churches, businesses and day-care companies to help.

Wake County’s Smart Start program already has given $500,000 to help children under age five in day care.

Last month, Durham County nearly ended its subsidized child-care program for children ages five to 12 because of a $3.1 million shortfall.

However, to hold off closing until March 1, it received money from Medicaid, United Durham Inc., Community Development Corp., Durham’s housing department, state funds and United Way.

A recent study by the state’s social services directors says the current $380 million budget must be tripled to properly fund subsidized day-care programs.

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