Childcare voucher program suspended in NC because of shutdown

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by Nick Ochsner, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on October 10, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 10 at 6:40 PM

PASQUOTANK CO. -- Hundreds of families in Pasquotank County are worried because the government shutdown may force the suspension of a much-needed childcare voucher program.

The program, which is administered by the Pasquotank County Department of Social Services, is usually funded from government money. That money has stopped coming because of the shutdown.

"As a result of not having that money, we're now in the process of sending out notices to suspend childcare services on October 31st," said Beverly Mercer, the program's administrator.

Mercer said the county has loaned the program enough money to hand out vouchers through October but after that, there will not be any money left.

"We never would've thought or foreseen that this would've happened to us," Mercer said.

The program pays for childcare for approximately 400 children in Pasquotank county and is a big help to parents like Eya Lewis.

"Childcare by itself, without the voucher, is very expensive. I mean, it's almost like paying rent," Lewis said. "Without the voucher, I have no idea what I'm gonna do."

The program's suspension would also mean a big drop in business for daycare centers like Cora's Educational Center.

Cora Wilson, who owns the daycare, said she's hearing from a lot of worried parents.

"We've had a lot of parents ask questions of what are they gonna do? Where are they gonna take their kids? How are they gonna be able to survive?" Wilson said.

Wilson and her staff have decided to keep the daycare open even if the parents aren't able to pay because the voucher program is suspended.

"We'll be able to get through it. It'll overcome itself and we'll ride through the storm," Wilson said.

The storm is one Eya Lewis and her two year old son may not be ready for.

"I'm smiling now but i think about it every day and I'm very concerned about it," Lewis said.
 

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