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May 19, 2024

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Six Child Centers to Close in The Region

Six child care centers in Western North Carolina are scheduled to close on October 31st. According to Sheila Hoyle, the chairman of Southwestern Child Development, the agency has been consolidating centers for several months but with federal assistance funds running out there were no other options. However, the commission is working with other public and private agencies to fill the gap. Mountain projects that operate some daycare facilities are reviewing their options to expand in order to accommodate both children and staff who will also be adversely impacted by the closure. Currently, 121 daycare slots in Jackson and Haywood counties will be lost with the closing of these facilities. According to Hoyle about seventy thousand centers and over three million children nationwide are affected by the expiration of federal funding. Since the pandemic the cost of doing business has skyrocketed due to wage increases, the cost of food, and other factors. Last session the North Carolina legislature created a general assembly early childhood caucus to research the critical need for daycare in the state. Legislation was presented to establish a baseline level for daycare assistance for low-income families. The legislation did not pass but with the ending of federal funds, the state daycare assistance program effort could be revisited.

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