Raleigh, N.C. – An ongoing Civitas Institute investigation has revealed that Child Care Services Association (CCSA), an administrator of Smart Start programs, mismanaged a program fund of $3.4 million resulting in the loss of about 250 scholarships for needy children.
In mid-November of last year, parents and childcare providers received notice that hundreds of children would be terminated from their Smart Start scholarships effective December 17th, forcing many childcare centers to close. Children enrolled in the program were promised a 12 month contract for subsidized childcare, but the majority of these contracts were cut short, with only a little over 100 children receiving the full term of the scholarship.
A report showed that just six months into Fiscal Year 2010-2011, CCSA had spent two thirds of their budget – a pace that would have overspent their total budgeted amount by $1.2 million by the end of the year.
“It is a tragedy for the Durham County community, especially in such difficult economic times. How this organization could have mismanaged millions of North Carolina’s money and then refuse to come forward to explain the details of the situation warrants public outrage,” said Civitas Institute policy analyst Andrew Henson.
The agency did not respond to numerous information requests. In addition, staff denied a representative from Civitas access to the requested information and asked him to leave. Although CCSA runs the Smart Start scholarship program with taxpayer money, CCSA Senior Vice President Linda Chappel claims to be outside of Public Records Law and has been unwilling to provide the public with critical information explaining why so many children were dropped from the program.
“North Carolinians deserve the utmost transparency with their tax money. CCSA would do well to remember who they are serving and who is paying the bills,” added Henson.
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