**By Rob Thompson, Executive Director of the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children
This post is part of a blog series on the crucial role of quality early childhood education and child care in caring for our youngest residents, creating thriving communities, and promoting a healthy economy. Read the introduction to this blog series and learn more about the programs we’ll be discussing here.
During the 2013 legislative session, North Carolina’s early childhood programs dodged a bullet. In both the House and the Senate, legislators considered damaging policy changes and funding shifts that would have undermined North Carolina’s early childhood infrastructure.
The state Senate, which took the first stab at the state budget, approved substantial funding transfers that would have dismantled the state’s early childhood infrastructure. The Senate budget required all child care subsidies to be administered by local Departments of Social Services (currently, child care subsidies are distributed to families by both local Smart Start agencies and Departments of Social Services.) This change would have stripped 40% of the overall Smart Start budget and would have likely resulted in the closure of several small-county Smart Starts.
Additionally, the Senate budget proposal would have transferred 5,000 NC Pre-K slots to the child care subsidy program, resulting in a net loss of 10,000 slots by 2015 (due to expiration of 5,000 one-time slots funded by Governor Perdue). Read more