May 12, 2024 - News

North Carolina child cares closing for a day of advocacy to address crisis

Pathway Preschool in charlotte

Pathway Preschool Center in Charlotte. Photo: Courtesy of Pathway Preschool Center

A growing number of child care facilities across North Carolina will close for a day (May 13), joining centers nationwide in pressing lawmakers about the need for more funding for the early childhood education industry.

Why it matters: Those participating in the annual National Day Without Child Care are demanding living wages for providers, affordable care for families, an expanded child tax credit, and a child care system "built on racial and gender equality," according to a statement from organizers.

What they're saying: Danielle Caldwell, an organizer and advocate for child care reform in Durham, closed her at-home child care facility in January amid ongoing challenges associated with the industry. Among them: Low pay and long hours.

  • Child care underpins the rest of the economy, providing quality care so that working professionals can do their jobs, Caldwell notes. Without that care, people — often women — have to drop out of the workforce.
  • "When you don't fund child care you're putting a chokehold on the economy," Caldwell says. "No one works unless we work."

By the numbers: Child care advocates are asking North Carolina lawmakers for a one-time allocation of $300 million to extend pandemic-era stabilization grants beyond June. This is something lawmakers are considering in the short session.

  • Almost 3 in 10 child care centers throughout North Carolina say they'd be forced to close if state lawmakers don't provide financial support when the grants expire this summer, Axios has previously reported.
  • Child care teachers make around $14-$15 an hour in North Carolina.
  • Still, between insurance, licensing, rent and other costs, it's expensive to run a child care center in North Carolina. And it's a felony to operate one without a license.

What to expect: Dozens of providers and community members will gather for a rally at Pathway Preschool Center on May 13 from 11am-1pm. Pathway will close that day, director Emma Biggs tells Axios.

  • The Durham event takes place May 13 from 5-7pm at Forest Hills Park.

What's next: On May 16, there will be an additional statewide day of advocacy at 10am at 300 N. Salisbury St. in Raleigh. That day will feature 250 closures across the state.

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