Day care centers in line for financial help as North Carolina gets $805 million from US government

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Thursday, October 7, 2021
'It's been a struggle:' Financial help coming to NC day care centers
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Governor Roy Cooper announced Thursday that North Carolina will receive $805 million as part of the American Rescue Plan to help day care centers.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Day care centers across the state could see a major boost from federal funding soon.

Governor Roy Cooper announced Thursday that North Carolina will receive $805 million as part of the American Rescue Plan. Day care centers throughout the state will be able to apply for a grant, and they could be rewarded anywhere between $3,000 and $60,000 per quarter depending on their size and their needs.

"We have a lot of unfilled jobs out there right now. And some of the problem is that parents don't have quality childcare for their children," Cooper said.

The money can be used to help retain and hire new employees by offering bonuses and increased pay, healthcare and other resources. The director of the Community School for People Under Six in Carrboro says they plan to apply for a grant.

"It's been a struggle for us. I mean maintaining compensation for our staff has been a struggle. And we only currently offer a partial benefit for health insurance for staff," CSPU6 Director Anna Mercer-McLean said.

The Raleigh Nursery School has been saving every penny to stay open.

It's among the few left that are both minority owned and serving marginalized communities.

The school reopened in the spring after a year off from the pandemic. There are just 25 students enrolled compared to 90 in 2019.

"(If we had more money,) we would be able to pay staff a better living wage so they'd be willing to do this work," said Brenda High Sanders.

Child care centers can apply for a grant online starting at 9 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 11. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis starting in mid-November.

President Joe Biden and many Democrats in Congress hope the Build Back Better plan will make preschool free for most families.

"This is so important for our families and for women in the workforce," said Rep. Deborah Ross.

The plan, though, will cost trillions of dollars -- a price republicans say is way too high.

"In my opinion, where has the personal responsibility gone? Where has the fact that when you're making a child, we need to think about caring for that child?" Rep. Greg Murphy said.