Last week, student parents accomplished one goal when UNC officials pledged to match a $36,000 referendum, which the student body passed in February, that would allocate dollars for child-care subsidies. The subsidies will be valid for University-sponsored child care centers, like Victory Village Day Care Center.
Chapel Hill day-care officials say that local parents are having similar problems finding space in day-care centers and that facilities are struggling to provide for the children they already have.
Rosalyn Council, owner and director of Carrboro Early School, said almost all local day cares are completely booked with long waiting lists. "Business has been very high for the past few years and is continuing to grow," Council said. "We have no spaces available and our waiting list continues to expand."
Larue Hardee, part-owner of Playschool Nursery in Chapel Hill, also said she has had to turn down numerous clients because of lack of space.
"I have had to turn down lots of people because we stay full all the time," Hardee said.
Council said she has seen a big need for day care from graduate students.
"They seem to have a very difficult time finding day care because of lack of time and money," she said. "It's hard for them to qualify for subsidy and because of the high cost of living in this area, many simply cannot afford child care."
Theresa Smith, director of Family Support and Nutrition Services for the Child Care Services Association, said since July 1, 2001, 55 UNC students have contacted the association for assistance in finding child care. Of these 55 students, 40 are graduate students and 15 are undergraduate students.
Smith said 42 UNC graduate students are receiving some sort of scholarship assistance for child-care services through a variety of sources such as Smart Start, United Way, Orange County and the University itself.