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How is money allocated to each county for subsidized day care?

Ken Little

The allocation formula is determined by the state based on factors like the county unemployment rate, number of day care locations and the cost of providing the service, says LaVaughn Nesmith, director of the New Hanover County Department of Social Services.

“Whatever it comes out to be, it comes out to be,” Nesmith says.

Social Services is grappling with an ongoing funding shortfall and Nesmith said the department just received an infusion of $319,000 from the state to keep operating day care programs at current levels for the remainder of the fiscal year.

“If we didn’t get that we would have had to cut 150 kids out of day care,” Nesmith says.

The waiting list for day care services in New Hanover County grew to 819 children this month from 649 in January, Nesmith says. The county is mandated to provide day care to children placed in foster homes by Child Protective Services and whose guardians are employed. Other programs that place parents in jobs also have precedence when it comes to day care placement.

Social Services oversees day care for 1,911 children in New Hanover County, Nesmith says.

Fully 82 percent of the day care slots provided to families go to “working parents who need day care to continue to work,” Nesmith says.

“All urban counties have got waiting lists really long,” he says. “We don’t have any more money to add anybody else to more slots.”

User-contributed question by:
Bobby Jordan

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