County Line Confusion

Latoya Anderson…a fellow Yankee…called me here at the station to tell me about her child care debacle. I had to asked her repeatedly to stop  yelling…she was so fired up! (No sense in wasting those sound bites!)

 

Here’s more of the story….

Latoya says she waited seven months on Bladen County’s wait list to qualify for the aid. Not only would the kids have somewhere to go after school but she’d also be saving a lot of money. She uses “Best Day Care” which costs her about $650 to $800 per month. I’m not sure why it varied…perhaps she didn’t use it every day…or some weeks used it more than others.

 

 

County’s will confirm an applicant’s address by using a 911 verifier. Bladen County admits to confirming Latoya’s address on Old Boardman Road to be inside Bladen.  I drove down that road…it IS confusing…it stops..starts…twists and turns from Bladen into Columbus.

 

Latoya says the county pulling her file for “review” was hardly random. She says that her sitter was having trouble getting payment from the county and her frequent calls of concern were what Latoys says, drove the county to pull up her file…for a second glance. Fay Lewis, the state supervisor of the program, says that all files are pulled for quarterly review to make sure that people on the wait list still qualify…or still need the service. Lewis says that Latoya was NOT singled out.

 

When her notice arrived that she was being cut off, they told her she had only ten days left of service. Latoya flew into action. She appealed to the county AND the state. They offered to extend her services until the end of the year….that extension continued into January and February as she continued making appeals. The period of the extension is the portion that the county is asking back for…about $1600.

 

Lewis says that for every day that Anderson was being served in Bladen County…she was taking another Bladen County family’s place. Latoya is completely aware that there are many families in need…but she says she wasn’t trying to take someone else’s service…she was simply taking what the county offered her.

 

 

Lewis noted that state assistance programs are an option for families…but they can’t be relied on. Its the state’s way of offering to help…but families can not look at it as an automatic entitlement.

 

 

 

I asked Latoya how on Earth she didn’t know which county she lived in. She swears up, down and across that she didn’t. I asked that same question to the state and they said they are not charging her with fraud…so it doesn’t appear that there is suspicion that she intentionally pursued Bladen…because Bladen did not have a wait list…while Columbus County did.

 

 

 

Fay Lewis pointed out that 27,000 other children are waiting for service throughout North Carolina…there are many families in need. Lewis says the program does what it can to help families out but considering the economy…there just isn’t enough money to go around….supply vs. demand. She also said her program is hoping to get a second wind with the stimulus package.

 

 

Lewis reiterated the fact that Latoya’s aid had been extended while she was appealing…first till the end of the year…then until Febrary 27th. She says this was done on good will. Latoya argues her extention has little to do with good will…they were ready to promptly cut her off within ten days of the first notice…her extension was granted only after she raised Cain.

 

 

I spoke with Latoya this morning. She has still yet to receive word from officials that she will not have to pay back that money. I asked Fay Lewis if the department had notified Latoya about that decision and she said she wasn’t sure if Bladen County had done so….no one at BladenCounty would speak with me directly about this issue.

 

 

I’ve been reading the discussion on our website…THANK YOU everyone…its great to see some dialouge. Keep it going…I know there are a lot of families who work hard to make ends meet and my-oh-my can child care be expensive!

 

 

I gave this to our web producer but I will post it here as well. If you are a family who is needing care…here are some other options for you:

 

If you are in need of child care assistance here are some options:

  • Head Start is a resource for preschool age children and school age children that charge little or no fee for care.  To find a provider in your area, click here.
  • Contact your county’s department of social services to find out which specific types of assistance they offer by searching here.  
  • You can search for more specific county information by going to: www.ncchildcare.net
    From the Home page of the web site, choose the Parents tab, from that point select Parent Resources tab and follow Steps 1-3 for contact information.
  • Put your name on your county’s wait list. If you wait till the last minute you will be on the wait list for quite some time.

There is currently no funding available in Bladen and Columbus Counties, so here are some options specifically for those areas:

Preschool Program

Mt. Olive Head Start Program – Whiteville
Contact: Jackie Baldwin, Intake Worker
Telephone: 910-648-4860. 
Transportation available 
Specific documentation required
Available slots for 3-year-olds

After School Programs

S.O.S. (Support Our Students)
Tabor City Elementary School
Contact: Debra Hammond, Principal
Telephone number during school hours: 910-653-3618
SOS Telephone Number: 910-653-9277  (call during after school hours)

The Dream Center CDC
S Martin Luther King Jr Avenue
Whiteville
2 Sites: Whiteville and Fair Bluff
Contact Evelyn Troy
Telephone: 910-642-0633
Provides tutorial and other services 

Other Resources

S.O.S.
Tabor City Middle School
Contact: Kent Lovett, Principal
Telephone: 910-653-3637

Bolton Youth Center –
Telephone: 910-655-2498      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Hi, Where are you from? Is it a secret? 🙂
    Thank you


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