Once again an update on how the Federal Government Shutdown is impacting children & families in North Carolina from our friends at the NC Covenant.
Below is our best attempt to list the impact of the shutdown on children in one place.
Nutrition for Pregnant Women, Infants and Young Children (WIC)
The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) provides supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education for almost 264,000 women, infants and young children each month. On Tuesday, October 8, the NC Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would cease to issue WIC benefits until the government shutdown is resolved.
Child Care Subsidy
The federal government pays for the majority of child care subsidies in North Carolina. Federal funds come primarily from two sources, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Neither of these programs was authorized beyond September 30, 2013.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has indicated that both CCDBG and TANF funds will run out before the end of October. At this point, it's unclear if the state will take measures to maintain the subsidy system during the shutdown.
Child Care Regulators
Child Care Regulars were furloughed as of October 3, 2013. Regulators monitor and license all child care programs in North Carolina. The prolonged absence of regulators could result in a decrease in quality and safety.
Child Care Teacher Salary Supplements
The WAGE$ program has been frozen and administrative staff furloughed. Child care providers who obtain higher education are eligible for an education-based salary supplement through the evidence-based WAGE$ program . Research has found that WAGE$ increases the education, retention and compensation of early educators, which results in higher quality care for children. The average salary of a North Carolina Child Care worker was $19,300 in 2012. The average six-month WAGE$® supplement is $756.
Programs to Support and Increase Child Care Quality
All Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Programs in the state are frozen. CCR&R programs help parents find quality child care programs, support child care programs and teachers in improving quality and assist organizations interested in starting child care programs.
Private Adoption Services
Each year, the state works with private non-profits to secure adoptive homes for hundreds of children in foster care. As of October 8th, these private agencies are no longer being paid for these services, which could stop hundreds of adoptions mid-stream.
Child Medical Evaluation Program (CMEP)
Pediatricians who perform medical and psychological assessments of children referred by DSS agencies to help determine the presence or extent of abuse and neglect will no longer be paid and have been ordered to stop work.
On October 8th, NC DHHS has issued a "stop-work" order for all contractors funded by federal block grants. This includes a wide-range of services, including adolescent pregnancy prevention, child welfare services and much more.
, Executive Director
Covenant with North Carolina’s Children