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The Daily Tar Heel

Frank Porter Graham Child Care Center to close in 2013

Has served UNC, town since 1966

Due to a reporting error, Tuesday’s page 3 story “Child center to close in 2013” incorrectly stated the sliding fee schedule. It currently ranges from $1,000 to $1,520 per month, not per year. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

After helping raise generations of North Carolinians and the University’s profile in child research, a 45-year-old child care center will close its doors in response to budget cuts.

But in spite of looming budget cuts for the 2011-12 fiscal year, the The Frank Porter Graham Child Care Center will remain open through July 2013 to offer families ample time to adjust.

Sam Odom, director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, said the closing follows a chronic inability to escape a deficit.

“The cost of running the center exceeded the revenue by a considerable amount.”

He said the center, a part of the Child Development Institute, has found a way to make up the discrepancy for the next two years, but cannot fund itself beyond that point.

The center currently has 31 employees and serves 78 children, 17 of whom have disabilities, said Kate Gallagher, director of the Frank Porter Graham Family and Child Care Program.

The program cares for children of both University students and employees and the community at large. Students studying education or allied health sciences use it to practice with new techniques.

The center is funded by fees and agency contracts but has never had a surplus despite those sources. Recently, University and state support have made up about 30 percent of its funding, according to a notification letter the center sent to families.

The center operates on a sliding fee schedule based on a family’s gross annual income, as well as the child’s age. Current prices range from $1,000 to $1,520 per year.

Odom said he hopes the two year delay will give families and employees a chance to adjust their plans and researchers time to wrap up their studies, as well as give time to their various community partners.

“We are hoping that families will be able to locate new child care facilities,” he said.

The center, located near the intersection of Greensboro Street and N.C. 54 in Carrboro, has been open since 1966 and serves as a research facility for the Child Development Center, as well as a day care center.

According to the center’s website, it originally opened as a site for research on the effect of full-day early education, health care and social services on the lives of disadvantaged children.

Currently, the center has a four-fold mission: research, demonstration, professional development and services for children and families.

Gallagher said some children are currently involved in studies with the National Autism Center, and others with studies for new curriculum strategies.

Odom said the children range in age from infancy to preschool and come from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Disabled children have taken part in the program since 1984.

“The decision to close in no way reflects on the quality of the program or its importance in the community,” the center said in a release.

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