Shutdown Leaves Hundreds of Henderson Co. Parents Scrambling for - WSPA.com

Shutdown Leaves Hundreds of Henderson Co. Parents Scrambling for Child Care

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For thousands of families across North Carolina, a deal to end the government shutdown may not come soon enough. For thousands of families across North Carolina, a deal to end the government shutdown may not come soon enough.
HENDERSON COUNTY, N.C. -

For thousands of families across North Carolina, a deal to end the government shutdown may not come soon enough.

The shutdown means they could be scrambling for childcare in a matter of days.

72,000 children in North Carolina rely on child care subsidies. More than 30 counties in the state are either considering or have already decided to suspend those subsidies.

The state has set aside enough money to ensure kids in child protective services or child welfare will continue to have child care vouchers through December.

In Henderson County, 551 children will see their child care vouchers cut off starting Monday.

While the children at St. James School for Little Folks in Hendersonville nap peacefully to the sound of a gentle melody, many of their parents aren't resting so easy.

“I had a pretty rough time last night going to sleep,” said Michael Lane, whose 3-year-old daughter Josilen goes to St. James.

That's because the money runs out at the end of the week for the federal child care subsidy he relies on for Josilen’s tuition. It's a big financial blow. Instead of $150 a week, Lane pays just $130 a month with the help of that voucher.

“We're going to have to find something else to do. I mean, I can't afford it," said Lane.

St. James staff members went out and bought lottery tickets Wednesday, hoping to save the day.

No luck yet.

Instead. Executive Director Denise Purcell says the center is relying on church donations to help parents for the next two weeks.

After that, she faces losing half her families and cutting half her staff.

That's an impact all parents will feel.

“We're going to have to raise prices to cover the expenses. Less children means it costs more. Some of these families aren't going to be able to afford that,” said Purcell.

For now, all Lane can do is wait and hope the funding starts flowing again.

“Josilen doesn't understand the financial aspect of daycare. She's just going to see that she's not able to come. She's no longer going to be with her friends,” said Lane. “I feel like it will probably be a blow to her.”

South Carolina Department of Social Services spokesperson Marilyn Matheus said the government shutdown has no immediate impact on South Carolina child care subsidies. She said DSS is still waiting for word from the federal government on what it can expect if the shutdown continues.

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