October 8, 2002
A 40-thousand dollars bond is set for a Stone Mountain mother who is charged with murder and cruelty to children after her three-year-old daughter dies in a hot car. The mother, 28-year-old Nakia Burgess, claims she couldn't find affordable child care. Single mothers here in Southwest Georgia can relate, but say there's no excuse, all you have to do is look.
Kids need a whole lot of attention, especially kids with special needs. Twenty-five-year-old Gloria Graham's two-year-old son, Ghermir, has cerebral palsy. She says it's difficult to find affordable child care. Graham says, "No one really had a lot of information about a program that would pay for if for you completely."
That's where Head Start comes in. It's free child care. Head Start Executive Director, Eliza Spurling, explains, "Head Start allows ten percent with special needs."
Melony Hicks has also enrolled her three-year-old girl, Daishana Carter. She has heart and lung problems. Hicks says, "Now that she's in Head Start, I think, I know, I can hold a job now."
The Stone Mountain mother made a mistake that cost her her girl's life. These mothers understand what she was going through. Graham says, "I can understand her going to extreme. It's tough to decide between job and caring for child. Job can help you do better for the child." Hicks says, "I understand she needed her job to take care of her children, but my children are my number one priority. I look to children first."
These single mothers say every parent should go the extra mile to find affordable day care, like Head Start.
Head Start is a non-profit organization that serves more than 700 kids in Dougherty County, but there are several centers around Southwest Georgia.
Eligibility is based on family income. Head Start also provides diapers and meals for free. They get money from Federal grants.
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