Last month, DHHS came out with the report for how many 4 year olds in North Carolina were eligible for pre-Kindergarten services in the state versus how many were actually served. Although the percentage varies across counties, the overall view is pretty dismal– only half of kids eligible were actually getting services. Why aren’t they?
In part, the reason is money. Given the broad reach of the pre-K programs, which are expected to serve students who have delays, low/limited English proficiency and/or are low income, the cost is very high, even without any regulations on how much the pre-K teachers are paid. There are some upcoming bills and plans looking to rectify this, at least in part.
However, some is no doubt also lack of understanding of services by families. If you have a four year old, do you know if your child is eligible for this free-to-you service? Have you considered applying for it? Although placement is not guaranteed and there may be wait lists, it’s useful for many, many families.
Even if your child does not meet eligibility or there is a waitlist, you may meet other criteria for other programs for pre-K. There is Head Start, Preschool Exceptional Children, Smart Start, Title I Preschools and subsidies.
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