NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - Child care centers could be closing or seeing a loss in hours. Centers participating in the Subsidized Child Care Program may lose funding due to the government shutdown.
All centers participating in the program get part of their fees from parents and the rest from the government. Parents enrolled in this program are low income families who are either working or attending school. Parents are typically using vouchers from the government to pay for childcare. This means the shutdown could cause these centers to lose most if not all their funding.
Parents like Lijena Hickman are concerned that without daycare they will not be able to go to work.
"I won't have daycare for my kids. I don't have family members that will watch my kids," Hickman said.
Child care center owner, Monica Sonya Simmons, for Children's Learning Castle in New Bern, said daycares rely on this money to pay the bills.
With the government shutdown, "we knew the Subsidy Child Care Centers would be affected at some point, but we didn't know that it was going to come this soon," Simmons said.
She said most day cares accept these vouchers even if they are privately funded.
"With the shutdown the county would not be able to give subsidized care money to child care centers. Therefore, if your center or home is working only off subsidy you wouldn't be able to work," Simmons said.
Simmons is holding a forum at the New Bern Public Library Thursday, at 7 P.M to talk to parents and raise awareness on this issue. Simmons is meeting with local congressmen Monday in hopes of finding a solution to keep these day cares running during the shutdown.