State budget cuts in the NC Infant Toddler Program have the state Department of Health and Human Services planning to close three Children’s Development Services Agencies in the eastern part of the state by July 1 and have the work managed from East Carolina University in Greenville.
State-run offices in New Bern, Rocky Mount and Wilmington will close and the work consolidated at ECU, which works under contract to coordinate interventions for special-needs infants and toddlers.
The closures mean that 173 state employees will lose their jobs. But the Greenville office will expand and add 150 positions, said Julie Henry, the state Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman. The state employees who find work in the Greenville office will become ECU employees and keep their benefits, she said. Other state offices have openings where employees willing to relocate can find jobs, Henry said. With the office closings, the state Child Development Service Agencies will drop from 16 to 13.
The state expects services to families will continue without interruption, Henry said. The program helps disabled children age 3 and younger learn basic skills through in-home visits.
The legislature cut $8 million from the Infant Toddler Program this year and is expected to make a $10 million cut next year.
Dr. Robin Cummings, a DHHS deputy secretary, said in a memo last week that the budget reductions “are primarily due to the fact that the program has unexpended dollars each year, at least in part because of multiple hiring freezes on CDSA positions in the state CDSAs, as is true for all of state government.”
Nearly 20,000 children were served in the program in 2012-13.