MEDIA RELEASE: Thousands of parents wait for affordable, quality child care even after the shutdown

New report shows it’s always a “shutdown” for 30,000 plus families on the waiting list for North Carolina’s child care subsidies

RALEIGH (October 18, 2013) — North Carolina’s subsidized child care program helps foster the healthy development of children and ensures that low-income working parents have the supports they need to maintain and pursue employment and education. However, a new report from the North Carolina Justice Center finds that even after the impacts of the federal shutdown are resolved, more than 30,000 eligible children and their families are left waiting for child care subsidies due lack of funding and the state’s inability to keep up with demand.

“For many North Carolina families, child care is the largest cost in a monthly budget, surpassing that of food, health care, and even housing,” said Sabine Schoenbach, a policy analyst with the NC Justice Center’s Workers’ Rights Project. “Such costs can force working parents to choose between leaving their children in inadequate and potentially unsafe care arrangements and using income needed for housing and food to pay for high-quality care.”

North Carolina’s subsidized child care program helps reduce the high cost of child care, the report said, but funding for early childhood programs have been under threat on several fronts. As of July 2013, 34,252 eligible children were on the waiting list for subsidized, quality child care.

For the thousands of families on the waiting list and for those impacted by loss of federal funding, accessing child care subsidies for their children could be the difference in keeping their home or putting food on the table, the report said. Without child care, many of these parents struggle to hold on to their jobs and/or rely on unstable, low-quality care arrangements.

“In order to support the economic stability of families today as well as drive economic growth in the future, North Carolina must renew its investment in child care subsidies and early childhood programs,” Schoenbach said. “North Carolina should recognize that investments in early childhood education and care pay dividends in the future, from increasing high school graduation rates to reducing costs in criminal justice and remedial education. North Carolina needs a robust and consistent early childhood system now and for the state’s future.”

Read the full report here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Sabine Schoenbach,, 919.856.2234; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications,, 503.551.3615 (cell).