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Government Shutdown Could Affect Child Care Centers

6:45 PM, Oct 8, 2013   |    comments
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The sun begins to rise behind the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument on Sept. 30, 2013, in Washington, D.C.(Photo: Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

Alamance County, N.C. - Who would have thought the federal government shutdown could end up shutting down daycare centers? It could happen.

In Alamance County, about 500 children will lose their federal funding Wednesday. Some parents may have to stay home from work. The government helps them pay for some or all of their daycare tuition.

"I might have to quit my job so that I can provide care for my child instead of being able to afford to work and let my child continue after-school care," Heather MacGowan, a parent, said. "I felt that this won't affect me...the government shutting down. Then, yesterday, I find out I might not have child-care for my daughter."

Alamance County gets between $350,000 to $400,000 federal dollars a month for child care. The shutdown cut off that money and the Department of Social Services can't guarantee the government will send that money after this is all over. Now, day care owners must decide whether to keep caring for children when they might not get paid. If day care owners don't get paid, they can't pay their staffs or keep their doors open.

"This is a tragic, unintended consequence for our families. Our goal at DSS is to work with families to make them self-sufficient. This is affecting the people who have done what they're supposed to do. They've gone out. They've gotten a job. They're working," Director Susan Osborne said.

Angel Garden Learning Center Director Jo Hall added, "We're going to pray hard. We're going to trust that our government can get themselves in order, work together as a team, like they expect all of the children to do."

Alamance Partnership for Children Executive Director Carrie Theall said, "All I've heard in the news is a museum is closed down or a national park, I don't think people are too concerned about that. This is a dire need. This is a day to day need we need to realize is out there."

WFMY News 2 also reached out to the state Department of Health and Human Services to see how this is affecting other counties. We are still waiting to hear back.

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