By Barbara Goodmon
Forty thousand North Carolina pre-school children, and counting, are waiting to have an opportunity to get in day care.
This is not because there are not enough spaces; it is because there are not enough government subsidy dollars to buy them a space.
These are children whose parents cannot afford the cost of monthly day care.
Many of them need to work two and three jobs just to provide the basics; expensive daycare is not in their budget.
Furthermore, without day care, their limited incomes shrink because they need to stay home with the children.
Many of these children fall in the high-risk category for failure.
Sure, we have More at Four and Smart Start, but that is not early enough for many children.
They need more and need it earlier.
I am perplexed by the lack of state and national governmental concern about this need.
In North Carolina, we presently know the names of 40,000 small innocent children who will very likely become our high-school dropouts and occupy our prison beds 15 to 20 years from now.
As we continue to wrestle with how to reduce dropout rates and overcrowded prisons, I suggest we start with one thing immediately – day care for everyone who wants it, regardless of their ability to pay.
While our elected officials are discussing what should be done, time is a wasting.
Kids are losing their opportunity for success before they even have the chance to fail.
Long-term, providing a day-care subsidy is a much cheaper and more humane fix for our high-risk children who are heading toward failure.
Policymakers have the power to alter that path so that all children have the opportunity to head toward success.
Barbara Goodmon is president of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which publishes the Philanthropy Journal to support the mission of the Foundation and its grantees.