Daycares Across Arkansas Feeling The Affect Of The Partial Government Shutdown

FORT SMITH (KFSM) — We are now in the 20th day of the partial government shutdown and until lawmakers push through a budget, government funds that many rely on across Arkansas could soon be on hold.

The uncertainty is starting to put stress on smaller businesses like daycares.

"It's fear of the next step because we obviously don't want to take away our services," said Raven Jones, Director of Smart Start Academy and Daycare in Fort Smith.

Jones said what's happening in Washington with the partial government shutdown has daycare operators across the state worrying about certain funding being pulled.

"We have to prepare ourselves for what is the next step if we can no longer feed or care for children in our center," said Jones.

Jones said her center serves about 90 kids per week, some who are from low-income families. In turn, the center receives government funds each month to provide meals. Sometimes those meals cost the center $6,000 and it is reimbursed by government funds.

Jones said beyond the funding issue they worry about, parents with children attending the daycare seem to be worrying as well.

"They are coming to me and asking, 'Is my benefits going to be removed?'" She said. "I really don't have answers for them because it's really up in the air."

Jones said she knows the center will receive reimbursements through the end of February but after that, she said she is not sure what will happen. She said, in talking to other daycare directors across the state, the climate and mood is one of stress and uncertainty.