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State Budget Cuts Could Affect Edgecombe Child Care

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EDGECOMBE COUNTY, N.C. — State budget cuts could pull more than $1.5 million from child-care funds in Edgecombe County next year, and at the same time drive up the county's unemployment rate.

Right now, the county helps parents send more than 730 children to day care, but if budget cuts go through, more than 360 of those children would be dropped from the program.

"It could create some big ripples, and everybody has their fingers crossed," said Marvin Rouse, director of Edgecombe County Department of Social Services.

Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield says the cut could also have a big impact on the county's high unemployment numbers.

For parents who do have jobs, they need the day care services and support to ensure they can keep their jobs.

"That would hurt me tremendously," said Valinda Battle, a mother of four who receives child-care subsidies. "How would I go to work? I couldn't even afford to send them."

This week, county commissioners passed a resolution joining with others who are urging lawmakers to closely study the issue of child care before making any decisions about cuts.

Counties receive a combination of state and federal funds to help pay for day care. The proposed cuts could affect next year's budget, starting in July.