Parents rush to find daycare as shutdown closes centers

Parents rush to find daycare as shutdown closes centers

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by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

WCNC.com

Posted on October 4, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 4 at 6:20 PM

ROCK HILL, S.C. -- Hundreds of families in our area are struggling to figure out what to do with their kids next week.

That’s because federally funded Head Start programs are shutting down because of the government shutdown.

Some of the centers, including many in our area, typically get funding beginning in October. But because of the shutdown, they are left without any money to operate.

At the Rock Hill Head Start center the three year olds are oblivious. They laugh and chat up a storm.

But come Monday the classroom will be quiet. The entire Rock Hill Head Start Center closed.

Mom China Sheppard says, "I got to find daycare and I know that she was very excited going to school, getting on the bus, saying she has homework to do, it’s going to affect her more than me, her learning and stuff."

The federally funded program, that helps give kids from low income families a head start on education, is shutting down in communities across the country and right here in Rock Hill.

There is no money to keep the doors open. All because of the government shutdown.

Sheppard told us, "I don’t think they realize the impact, don't realize until you’re in that situation."

Come Monday, she has no idea who will watch her kids while she's at work.

"No I don’t," she says. "I’m trying to figure it out. I just got a new job so should I go back and forth to being a stay at home mom trying to figure out how I’m going to pay my bills."

The center's director, Kim Gray, and all of the teachers won't be getting paychecks, but they're most worried about the impact on the kids.

"This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve dealt with in 34 years of education. Never expected anything like this to happen," gray says.

The parents love this place so much, and rely on it so much, some have asked if they can do a fundraiser to keep it open. the director says there is just too much money needed to keep it going.

 There are some emergency grants that parents can apply for, but the money will not be available immediately and parents still have to find a daycare that has room for the kids.
 

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