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New Report Says Child Care Providers In New Jersey Are Operating On Shoestring Budgets

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A new report says child care providers in New Jersey are getting by on shoestring budgets, and that children aren't learning as much as they could be.

The report by the group Advocates for Children of New Jersey says child care providers know what quality is - they just can't afford it.

The report's author, Cynthia Rice, says state reimbursements have been stagnant for the last five years, while costs have gone up. One result, she says, is more teacher turnover.

"There is lots of work that has to be done to get kids ready," Rice says. "And the problem is, we have 56% of our kids overall in our state not reading on grade level. We have to think differently. And that can't start in third grade. It has to start early on."

Rice says New Jersey is one of six states to get a $44-million federal grant to improve child care. She says that's a start, but that quality child care needs more.

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