Proposed changes to the state budget hurting families? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Proposed changes to the state budget hurting families?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Proposed budget changes in Raleigh have some parents concerned. Traci Carpenter's 4 year old son has autism. He has been getting help from the state since her son was one.

"He wasn't speaking," the mother said. "Couldn't sit down. He had tantrums, we couldn't take his anywhere."

She says the support she got from the state helped.

"He behaves almost like a typical 3 or 4 year old child," Carpenter said. "It's therapy we have done and intervention from the state of North Carolina that has made the biggest difference."

That could all change though. The state is considering changing the amount families must earn in order to get the services they need for their children. If approved the Carpenters would make too much money. The mother claims the family cannot afford the treatment he needs to continue to improve.

"There are children out there that don't have special needs," the mother said. "Don't have autism that don't have developmental delays and get to start ready. Grant is not going to get to start ready."

The Executive Director of Smart Start of Mecklenburg County Jane Meyer understands helping the poorest of the poor but still has problems with the proposed legislation. The state gives Smart Start funds to help administer some of the programs.

"I am sorry," Meyer said. "We have to find the money for the children."

Other cuts would include taking funding away from teenage mothers who need to complete high school and need financial assistance to put their babies in daycare. Cuts could also take children out of quality Pre-K centers.

Meyer says Smart Start stands to lose 42 percent of its budget.

"Many partnerships won't be able to open their doors," Meyer said. "And keep on the lights. How will we pay staff and eventually that will hurt children."

Meyer and others plan to go to Raleigh soon to talk to legislators about proposed cuts to some of the most delicate children.

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