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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–June 1, 2018

Contact: Rob Thompson, 919-649-2449, rob@ncchild.org

Child Advocates United in Opposition to Redirection of Early Education Funding 40+ organizations sign letter to legislators

RALEIGH, NC–More than 40 state and local child-serving agencies sent a letter to legislators this morning urging them not to use $50 million in new federal early education funding for other purposes.

Earlier this year, Congress passed bipartisan legislation signed by President Trump that provided states with the largest increase in history to help more working families afford high quality child care. Of the approximately $74 million in new annual funding that North Carolina is projected to receive, the proposed state budget uses $50 million for other purposes.

The letter says that “this year’s state budget misses a historic opportunity to expand access to desperately needed high-quality child care,” and cites the impact on working families and businesses. The signatories call on legislative leadership to revisit this decision and to use expanded federal funding for child care for its intended purpose.

The full text of the letter is pasted below along with a list of signers.

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Dear Rep. / Sen. ,

High-quality early education provides children with the strong start they need to enter Kindergarten ready to learn, read at grade-level by the end of third grade, and graduate high school. Furthermore, working families need access to affordable child care to ensure they have the ability to work and provide for their families.

Unfortunately, this year’s state budget misses a historic opportunity to expand access to desperately needed high-quality child care. Instead of fully investing over $70 million of new federal dollars to strengthen and expand early learning opportunities, the state budget uses $50 million for other purposes.

Background:

Earlier this year, Congress passed bipartisan legislation signed by President Donald Trump that provided states with the largest increase in history to help more working families afford high quality child care. Of the approximately $74 million in new annual funding that North Carolina is projected to receive, the proposed budget uses $50 million for other purposes. The remaining funds are used to provide access to child care and increase reimbursement rates for child care providers.

Additionally, and as a result of the $50 million funding swap, NC Pre-K is slated to lose $50 million in state funding that will be replaced with $50 million in federal funding. By making NC Pre-K more reliant on federal funding, legislators have weakened the financial stability of the program. State lawmakers have no control over federal funding decisions, which means the fate of NC Pre-K funding will largely be determined by future Congresses.

Impact:

Children and Working Families: As of April 2018, 50,742 children were on a waiting list for child care assistance. New federal funding could have provided over 9,000 of these children with access to high-quality child care. Instead, only 3,700 additional children will gain access to child care under the budget proposal.

Businesses: Bridging the skills gap in our future workforce requires increased investment in our youngest children and their early learning. Removing $50 million in state funding from the NC Pre-K program runs counter to this goal.

Voters: Bipartisan polling shows overwhelming majorities of NC voters from both parties want state policymakers to do more to make early childhood education care more affordable for working families–78% of Republicans, 93% of Independents, 97% of Democrats.

The undersigned organizations and individuals call on you to revisit this decision and to use expanded federal funding for child care for its intended purpose of strengthening and expanding access to child care in North Carolina. To do otherwise is selling our children and our state short.

Sincerely,

Advocates for Medically Fragile Children

Alexander Youth Network

BEST NC

Blue Ridge Partnership for Children (serving Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey)

Buncombe County Partnership for Children

Central Piedmont Community Action, Inc.

Children’s Alliance of Mecklenburg County

Children and Youth Partnership of Dare County

Children First / Communities in Schools of Buncombe County

Children’s Home Society

ChildTrust Foundation

Community Foundation of Western North Carolina

Council for Children’s Rights

Crossnore School

Down East Partnership for Children

Equality NC

Executive Kidz LLC

Goldsboro Pediatrics

I-CARE, Inc.

Kidznotes

Mary Frances Wall Center (Cabarrus County Schools)

Mecklenburg Partnership for Children

Mission Health Partners

MomsRising NC

Montgomery County Partnership for Children

NASW-NC

NC Child

North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children

North Carolina Community Action Association

North Carolina Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

North Carolina Council of Churches

North Carolina Infant Mental Health Coalition

North Carolina Justice Center

North Carolina Pediatric Society

Partners in Learning

Partnership for Children of Cumberland County

Prevent Child Abuse NC

Providence Preparatory School

READ Wayne

Roanoke Island Presbyterian Daycare

Robeson County Partnership for Children

Rockingham County Partnership for Children

Shepherd’s Way Day School

Smart Start of Transylvania County

StepUp Ministry

Stokes County Partnership for Children

Toxic Free NC

Verner Center for Early Learning

WAGES NC

Wake County Partnership for Children

WakeEd Partnership

Western Carolina Community Action

YWCA of Asheville

ZFive

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