Child-care funding restored with shutdown’s end
Funding to support child care for more than 2,200 children in Durham County and other aid threatened by the shutdown of the federal government have been restored.
Due to the shutdown, Durham County officials expected child-care subsidies to be suspended after Friday. And other federally-supported programs, like adult day care and in-home aid services, also were threatened. Some programs already had been suspended.
But on Thursday, after the federal government’s reopening, Durham County Department of Social Services Director Michael Becketts announced that the suspension of services was over.
“The work of our federal government…reversing its partial shutdown means that our government here in Durham can return to normal operations,” Becketts said in a letter to child-care providers. “It is with much relief that I am writing this letter to let you know that child-care subsidies have been restored to original funding.”
Local leaders had looked to state officials to see the status of federal funds for aid programs. Ricky Diaz, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, said in an email Thursday morning that leadership and staff in the department worked “since the early hours” to restore services after federal lawmakers reached a deal.
“Counties were notified that all federal child-care funds have been restored to their previous levels, and counties that were forced to suspend services can contact families and restore services effective immediately,” he said.
Diaz also said that 2,200 of the department’s employees who were furloughed or whose hours were reduced hours due to the shutdown were told they could return to work.
Counties were notified that they could immediately start processing Work First applications again, he said.
Work First is North Carolina’s program for helping families stay off or move off welfare into jobs under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families initiative.
In Durham County, Becketts had said previously that the shutdown forced officials to suspend Work First services that helped people in-need to get transportation to work or job training.
In an interview with reporters on Thursday, Gov. Pat McCrory said Congress and the president “finally got (their) act together.” He urged lawmakers and the president to come up with a “long-term solution.”