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Go Ask Mom

MomsRising: No chance for 'do-overs' for N.C. kids

Posted March 22, 2011

While playing Chutes and Ladders, my son often asks if he can spin the dial again if it lands on a number he's unhappy with. Most of the time I oblige, he is 4 after all, and give him another chance to get a number that pleases him.

I wouldn't mind getting a "do-over" on occasion, but in this life there are actually very few opportunities to try something a second time to get it right. This is why I am deeply concerned about some of the proposed cuts this year to children's programs in the North Carolina budget. There is no do-over for our kids when it comes to their health and education, and these programs prevent problems that will cost the state exponentially more in the long run.

When my son, Ethan, was born, my husband was in law school and my job provided our health insurance. But because life rarely works out how you've planned, I had to quit working to care for my son while he went through a year of chemotherapy and another year of developmental therapies. With my job went our insurance, but fortunately Ethan qualified for Medicaid. The treatment and services he received were irreplaceable at that moment for him. Without Medicaid I don't think he would have been around for a "do-over."

Like Medicaid, there are other vital programs that the children of North Carolina depend upon to grow and develop into strong, productive adults. NC Health Choice is a program that provides health insurance for children from low-income families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid. Infant mortality programs like the Folic Acid Campaign, the Safe Sleep campaign, the ECU High Risk Clinic, and 17P shots prevent preterm birth and SIDS. Early childhood education programs like Smart Start and childcare subsidies ensure that all children are ready to enter school by helping working parents pay for childcare, improving the quality of child care, and providing health and family support services in every North Carolina county beginning at birth.

The deep cuts that have been proposed to these important programs are the wrong move for North Carolina. We are sacrificing our children's future for the sake of our current comfort. Too many families are already struggling to keep their children healthy and to find a quality childcare situation.

These programs keep our kids healthy, our state strong, and our parents at work. The need for them is critical right now. There will be no "do-over" for these children.

Even in this tough budget climate, we must tell our legislators “we think you can” find a balanced approach that will protect essential
services for the children of our state. To get involved in protecting children in the budget process, join us at!

Felicia Willems is a Raleigh mother of one and a member of NC MomsRising. MomsRising members post monthly here on Go Ask Mom.


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  • bethmessersmith Mar 24, 2011

    It's great that Felicia and other families like hers are speaking up and sharing their stories of how these programs have helped them. Whether its Medicaid saving her son's life, NC Health Choice keeping things could be treated in the dr's office out of the ER, Smart Start or More at Four helping kids start school prepared, child care subsidies helping parents in low-income jobs work to support their families, or our state's infant mortality programs preventing birth defects, SIDS or premature birth,our legislators need to hear that these are real families not just numbers on a page that can be cut without consequences. Parents vote, too. Thanks for sharing your story, Felicia!

  • kittiboo Mar 23, 2011

    howdid- if MY child was diagnosed with cancer, I don't care WHAT I had to do, whose tax money I had to take, I would be with my daughter 24/7, and I would honestly want my husband there, too. You can't ask those questions until you've been in that situation. Plus, even if the husband did get a job, the child wouldn't likely be covered if he'd already been diagnosed with cancer (pre-existing condition??). You have NO RIGHT to pretend to know what is best for anyone else. I am SO SICK of people crying "tax payer abuse!!" for situations where that money is actually justifiably needed. I hope it never happens that YOU are in need of assistance.

  • ckblackm Mar 22, 2011

    Conservatives don't give a flying flip about your kid or anyone else. They're only interested in keeping their corporate overlords/fat cats fully fed.

  • howdiditgettothis Mar 22, 2011

    I do agree with you that children should be taken care of.

    The problem I see is that too many people take advantage of and abuse Medicaid, and other government programs.

    I would prefer that the guidelines for approval be more stringent.

    Like in your case, how come your husband didn't go get a job, put his law school degree on hold and/or be with your child while you continued to work to pay for your child's medical needs since you DID have insurance, but chose to quit your job........

    Multiply your choice by a million and it's easy to see why our country is in the red and looking to cut out programs.