North Carolina's government got back up to speed Thursday with the federal shutdown now ended and federal funds for welfare, health and child care programs flowing back to the states.
The state Department of Health and Human Services, the agency most affected by the 16-day partial closing, said that 2,200 workers who had been furloughed or faced reduced hours because their pay was all or partially funded by Washington were being told to return to work full time. Less than 10 percent of them weren't able to work at all, the agency said.
DHHS spokesman Ricky Diaz said the agency told county social service officials to resume processing Work First welfare applications and that child care subsidy funds had been restored to previous levels. The state agency hoped to have all services restored by the end of Thursday, he said.
The state suspended Work First applications earlier this week and told counties they'd have to make do with fewer child care subsidy dollars because money wasn't authorized by Congress after Sept. 30.
North Carolina appeared to be the only state that took such actions, rather than extending those services with state dollars and expecting reimbursement from the federal government. DHHS said it wasn't persuaded enough that North Carolina could count on that payback. The legislation that passed Wednesday night to end the shutdown directed reimbursement to the states for federal programs that continued during the shutdown.