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Amid COVID-19, N.C. Childcare Centers Make Difficult Choices

A group of women sit around a table. A sign behind them reads "Think Babies."
North Carolina Early Education Coalition

Even before COVID-19 began to impact childcare center operations across the state, half of North Carolina was a childcare desert — a geographic area where three or more working-parent families vy for every available childcare slot. 

Though childcare needs have changed during the pandemic, as more parents have been working from home and caring for their children at home, there’s still more need than there are open childcare center slots to fulfill it. As the state reopens and more parents gradually return to work, some childcare centers are still unable to open at full capacity, due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. Those that are open at 50 percent capacity are operating at a financial deficit.

Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC education reporter Liz Schlemmer; Catherine Lieberman, director of Bell’s School for people under six; Cassandra Brooks, owner of The Little Believer’s Academy; and Michele Rivest, policy director of the North Carolina Early Education Coalition.

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Stacia Brown comes to WUNC from Washington, DC, where she was a producer for WAMU’s daily news radio program, 1A. She’s the creator and host of two podcasts, The Rise of Charm City and Hope Chest. Her audio projects have been featured on Scene on Radio, a podcast of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University; BBC 4’s Short Cuts; and American Public Radio’s Terrible, Thanks for Asking.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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