ONLY ON 3: DSS cuts daycare help for hundreds of families
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Bad news is waiting in the mailbox for many families in New Hanover County. The Department of Social Services is dropping 288 children from its Childcare Subsidy Program.
Cynthia Boulay got quite a shock when she picked up her kids from daycare Wednesday.
“Literally when I was walking out the door to take my kids home, I found out from the director she had gotten an email that said my daycare would be terminated as of September 30,” Boulay said.
Thanks to the New Hanover County Childcare Subsidy Program, Boulay pays just $400 a month for daycare for her twin infants and afterschool care for her son in Pre-K. Once that ends, her cost will go up to more than $300 a week. It’s an expense she and her husband can’t afford.
“I clear about $500 after taxes and after everything is taken out, so I would wind up losing money to send them to daycare,” Boulay said.
DSS Director LaVaughn Nesmith says this is the first time in several years the agency has had to drop families like this, but with the number of families being served, the program will not have enough money to complete the fiscal year.
“We are 30 percent above where we should be, and at the rate we are, it will take a lot to balance between now and May 30,” Nesmith said.
The first families dropped are those who were told they would only be eligible to receive benefits for a short period of time, but more will follow.
“We will continue to cut until the budget is balanced, so I don’t know how many that will be,” Nesmith said.
Leaving parents like Boulay in a difficult situation. She said if she can’t get help, she’ll have to quit her job to stay home with her kids. Her family’s lower total income would then qualify them for more government aid.
DSS asked the state for more money to avoid these cuts, but it was denied.
The next round of cuts will begin next month.