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Go Ask Mom

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

Posted March 22, 2011 7:40 p.m. EDT

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.