Loss Of Daycare Vouchers In Wake County Upsets Parents

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Budget cuts in Wake County are creating a childcare crisis for hundreds of parents.

As of March 1, low income working parents who used to depend on vouchers to help pay for their children’s daycare won’t have that option.

Budget cuts forced the cancellation of those payments and many parents are now frantically trying to find alternatives.

11-year-old Nickolas Smiley suffers from attention deficit disorder and post traumatic stress and can’t be left unsupervised while his mom is at work.

“His doctor said he can’t stay at home; not even five minutes by himself,” explains his mother Alacia Davis.

Nickolas is one of 750 kids in Wake County whose childcare payment vouchers were terminated Feb. 28 because of budget cuts.

“I don’t know what I am going to do; I have no idea,” said Alacia. “I’ve been scrambling along others, called my social worker to appeal but she said there is no appeal process.”

Rayna Vasquez complains there wasn’t much advance notice.

“The envelope is stamped the 18th, by the time it got to the house it was the 20th. Today’s the 28th. That’s 10 days,” Vasquez said.

The brief notification period left Vasquez at a loss and angry.

“What are we going to do? Somebody out there has to help us,” Vasquez said. “When it’s election time everybody’s out there; now we find no one to help us.”

A lot of working parents drop their kids off at Raleigh’ Brentwood Daycare on the way to their jobs; and then daycare transports the kids to and from school and keeps them in the afternoon until parents are finished with work.

Without that voucher assistance, many parents say they’ll have to choose between work and childcare.

“It’s stressing us out,” said parent James Johnson referring to himself and his fiancé. “Either she is going to be to late to work or I’m going to be to late to work.”

The elimination of childcare vouchers for kids over the age of eight saves the county about $350,000 but affected parents say the cost to them is incalculable.

“Without the vouchers it’s going to mess up our finances real bad,” said Johnson.

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