The Children's Alliance

How Federal Government Shutdown Effects our Families & Children in NC PDF Print Email
Monday, 07 October 2013 00:00

NC FlagDo you wonder what the federal government shutting down means here in NC? Over the weekend I visited family in Virginia where the impacts of the shutdown are pretty visible. I passed a battlefield park that was locked up and closed for business. Friends are furloughed and my brother in law in the Navy Reserves missed his monthly reserve training. Which means no pay…and pretty important to note, in case of federal emergency those Reserve troops aren’t available to be called into action. The commissary where most military families get their groceries is closed.  That is just what I witnessed in a weekend there.


Below (courtesy of our friends at NC Covenant) is information on how the impact are hitting our state. They may not affect you directly, but it should affect you that 264,000 women and children in NC may not get WIC benefits.

Unless you’re under a rock, you know that the federal government is shutdown as a result of dysfunction in DC. (Here's a simple primer on how it happened.) As far as I can tell, here are the top impacts of the shutdown on children:

Head Start – About 20 Head Start programs nationwide have temporarily closed shop as a result of the government shutdown. These programs were scheduled to get their annual grant on October 1st, but have not received the funding since the shutdown. None of these programs are in NC. Because Head Start grants are provided throughout the year, more programs could close if the shutdown continues.

WIC – The WIC program provides food vouchers, nutrition education and health care referrals to pregnant women, women who recently gave birth, and children up to age 5. The program served 8.9 million people nationwide in 2012, and according to WRAL, 264,000 women and children monthly in North Carolina. State DHHS is reportedly working to keep the program running, but the shutdown has stopped all funding for the program. If the shutdown continues, WIC benefits will likely cease. 

(Note – SNAP benefits and Medicaid will continue through the shutdown.)

NIH – The National Institute for Health (NIH) enrolls about 200 people per week in clinical trials for cancer treatment. About 30 of those 200 are children. As a result of the shutdown, the NIH is not enrolling any new patients, including children, for cancer treatment.

DHHS Furloughs – NC DHHS has furloughed over 300 state employees whose positions are funded with federal dollars. The impact of these furloughs remains unclear, but I would assume some impact on services if the shutdown continues for any substantial length of time.

In general, the impacts of the shutdown will be more profound the longer it lasts. Many local and state agencies have federal funding in place that should carry them through the next several weeks or months. However, if the shutdown extends beyond that funding, we could see a greater impact on services.

Rob Thompson
, Executive Director
Covenant with North Carolina’s Children



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