UPDATE: For Some Turning 6 May Mean Losing Programs that Boost Academic Success

Action Needed

Under Proposed NC Budgets, When Children Turn 6, Many May Lose Access to High Quality Programs that Boost Academic Success

The budgets proposed by both the North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives change the eligibility criteria for working families to access assistance to afford quality child care.

  • Many children may lose child care assistance when they turn six, reducing the likelihood of their participation in high quality programs that can boost their third grade success and placing them at risk for being home alone.  
  • Under the plans, 12,000 children that received child care subsidy in 2012-13 would no longer qualify.

The Governor’s budget proposal did not make any changes to the income criteria for child care subsidy eligibility.

UPDATE: The House and Senate Budget Conferees have been named. The NC Child Care Coalition has prepared a contact list.

Contact the legislators listed at the end of this email Contact the Senate and House Budget Conferees and explain the importance of ensuring that working parents have access to high quality child care programs that help children succeed in school, keep children safe and allow parents to work. Ask them to keep income eligibility for child care subsidy as it currently is –families earning 75% of the state median income are eligible for child care assistance for their children birth to age 13.

Under the proposals, children birth through age five would be eligible if their family income is 200% of the Federal Poverty Level or less. Children six to 13 would be eligible if their family income is 133% of the Federal Poverty Level or less.

Example: For a Family of Three

Current: Children 0 to 13Proposed: Children 0 through 5Proposed: Children 6 to 13Proposed: Children with special needs
75% State Median Income200% Federal Poverty Level133% of Federal Poverty Level200% of Federal Poverty Level
$42,204 or less$39,580 or less$26,321 or less$39,580 or less


Impact of Proposed Budgets

Children age six through eight and their families are particularly vulnerable under the proposed plans. Children from families with incomes between 133% and 200% will lose child care assistance when they turn 6 reducing the likelihood of their participation in high quality programs that can boost their third grade success and placing them at risk for being home alone. 

  • What happens in the first eight years sets the foundation for all of the years that follow, including for literacy development. Third grade marks the point in which children need to transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” for continued academic success.1 This transition is so important that end of third grade outcomes can predict academic achievement and career success.2 Ensuring children have access to high quality before and after school and summer programs supports North Carolina’s Read to Achieve goal that third graders read at grade-level.
  • School-age children benefit academically from high quality before and after school and summer child care programs. Achievement gaps that grow during the years prior to kindergarten are either solidified or eliminated during the primary grades of elementary school.3 4 Children who spend time in enrichment activities have better grades, better work habits and more positive relationships with their peers.5
  • Children are too young to stay home alone. North Carolina regulations recognize that is not developmentally appropriate for children under eight to take care of themselves without an adult.
    • The state’s fire code (G. § 14-318) states that a child under the age of eight shall not be left alone without appropriate supervision due to the risk of danger by fire.
    • Self-care is associated with more accidents and injuries, behavior problems and lower academic achievement.6
  • Parents rely on child care programs to work. When families have child care assistance, businesses experience fewer child-care related work disruptions; and mothers are more likely to be employed or in school.7

Legislators to Contact
Senator Phil Berger
Senator Harry Brown
Senator Neal Hunt
Senator Brent Jackson
Senator Kathy Harrington
Senator Ralph Hise
Senator Louis  Pate
Representative Thom Tillis
Representative Nelson Dollar
Representative Justin Burr
Representative Linda P. Johnson
Representative Bryan R. Holloway
Representative Pat McElraft
Representative Marilyn Avila
Representative William D. Brisson
Representative Mark W. Hollo
Representative Donny Lambeth

1 Fiester, Linda, and Ralph Smith. Early warning!: why reading by the end of third grade matters. Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010. Print.
2 Ibid.
3 Graves, B. (2006). PK-3: What is it and how do we know it works? FCD Policy Brief: Advancing PK-3, (4).

5 Nellie Mae Education Foundation. (2003). Critical hours: Afterschool programs and educational success.

6 Vandivere, Sharon. Unsupervised time family and child factors associated with self-care. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, 2003. Print.
7 Forry, N. D., and S. L. Hofferth. “Maintaining Work: The Influence of Child Care Subsidies on Child Care–Related Work Disruptions.” Journal of Family Issues 32.3 (2011): 346-368. Print.