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Policy Watch report: 1,000-plus poor families at risk of losing child care

So you know the right-wing-talk radio-NC General Assembly leadership talking point  by now: “Unemployed North Carolinians don’t need unemployment insurance or other safety net programs; they just need to get out there and get a job! If people would just suck it up like people did in the good ol’ days, we wouldn’t have 9% unemployment in this state.”

There are so many offensive and absurd implications of this “argument” that it’s hard to know where to begin in responding to it. One obvious place, however, is this:

What about the kids?

How does a person with young children at home go about taking on just any low-wage, hamburger-flipping job? Amazing as it many seem to folks on Right-Wing Avenue, not every parent of young children has a grandparent hanging around waiting to help raise their kids for free. These people need affordable child care.

Sadly, this obvious truth that long ago dawned on the leaders of most of the world’s industrialized nations still escapes the corporate conservatives who dominate American government. For a case in point, check out NC Policy Watch reporter Sarah Ovaska’s story this morning over on the main PW site.  As Sarah reports, state funding cuts are decimating the state’s already overstretched and underfunded child care subsidy program.

The child-care slots for 1,226 North Carolina children in 10 counties (see graphic below) are at risk of being cut off because counties contending with budget cuts to the program are on pace to exhaust their allocated funds, according to projections from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

More than 3,000 additional children in nine counties have already lost the subsidies, though an infusion of funding put half of those children back into the program, according to DHHS.

DHHS staff initially projected that 6,643 daycare slots for children in 14 counties would need to be cut, but lowered their estimates late Thursday after an N.C. Policy Watch reporter’s questioned the figures. Spokeswoman Lori Walston said an incorrect formula was to blame for the difference.

The bottom line: At a time when affordable child care in our struggling but still growing state, conservative public policies are taking the state in precisely the opposite direction. Read Sarah’s entire report by clicking here.

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