Durham, N.C. — About 250 children in 200 Durham families will lose the scholarships they use to offset the cost of child care Dec. 17 as a result of cuts in state funding for county programs.
A group of Durham County child care providers are working to raise awareness and nearly $1 million in resources to keep the Smart Start funding available.
The average scholarship in Durham is more than $7,000.
Sue Russell, president of Durham’s Child Care Services, which provides the Smart Start scholarships, said the county saw $7 million less from the state this fiscal year and $16 million less in the previous fiscal year.
“We were serving these families at the end of June, and in July, we expected some of these families to transition off to other funding sources, and the money wasn’t there,” Russell said.
Child care advocates say the cuts are not only in Durham County but across the state and affect more than 40,000 children in need of childcare assistance.
About 1,700 are on the waiting list for Smart Start, a nonprofit that works to ensure young children are prepared for success in school and in life.