Blowing smoke on child care and kinship care

Kacey Musgraves is a new country music sensation.  Her opening number, “Blowing Smoke” goes like:

Between the lunch and dinner rush
Kelly caught that out bound bus for Vegas.
And we’re all out here talkin trash, makin bets,
Lips wrapped round our cigarettes.
She always thought she was too good to be a waitress.

We all say that we’ll quit someday
When our ship comes in we’ll just sail away.
But we’re just blowin smoke.
Hey-yea
We’re just blowin smoke.
Hey-yea
Out here goin broke.
Hey-yea
Yea we’re just blowin…
Smoke.

Kacey goes on singing; crooning about all the waitresses at that restaurant who essentially are living false dreams and broken promises.  In other words, they are just “blowin’ smoke.”

Maybe the Kentucky version of this song should have a final verse about some state leaders “blowin’ smoke.”

I mean you remember.  The Governor and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, citing no money, slashed child care and kinship supports for Kentucky’s families.

Since April 1, no new families have been able to receive child care assistance or apply for the Kinship Care Program, which provides financial support to non-parental, relative caregivers, like grandparents. In addition, the state raised income eligibility limits for child care assistance from 150 percent to 100 percent of the poverty level, causing 8,700 families to lose child care assistance each month.

It is a decision that voices from across the Commonwealth know is a bad decision for kids and families today and a bad one for Kentucky’s bottom line tomorrow.

Interesting, isn’t it?  While the state cannot find dollars for the youngest children in Kentucky, the Office of the Governor just announced a $70.6 million surplus and reserved $45 million of surplus to cover government expenses in FY 14.  And $25.6 million was allocated for the Budget Reserve Trust Fund.  The Governor also recently approved $800,000 in tax incentives to the producers of the bourbon, Angel’s Envy. And finally, that nonexistent money is being spent on new business efforts such as the newly created Office of Entrepreneurship.

While the state says it has no money, it seems to have money for other efforts – government expenses; businesses; and bourbon.  Just not child care and kinship care.

Cuts to child care subsidies are forcing some families to make no-win decisions; including quitting their jobs since they cannot afford child care or leaving their children in inadequate and potentially unsafe care settings that put the children at risk of harm. Cuts to kinship care subsidies are making it harder for grandparents and other relatives to help kids recover from abuse or neglect and will drive more kids into the foster care system, which is more expensive and leads to worse outcomes for children.  In other words, both of these policy decisions are bad for kids and bad for the state’s bottom line.

When it comes to early childhood, could it be that the Governor, like that band of waitresses in the Musgraves’ tune, is just “blowin’ smoke?”

 

Comments

  1. It is disgraceful that our government is always handing out money to more bureaucracy. While taking money that needs to be spent to help families survive. Parents are leaving children because they cannot support them, and forcing Grandparents to raise them. The problem being the Grandparents can’t support them either, but their older values won’t let them drop the ball. So they go without medicine and doctors visits so that they can try to keep the little ones fed, clothed and taken care.

  2. Thanks for speaking truth, Terry.

    My Irish Catholic father, now long gone, always told me you can tell everything you need to know about the quality of a society by the way they treat their least important members. In this case, I suggest Kentucky’s invisible poor children and families qualify as those “least important.”

    And the Governor’s actions tell us everything we need to know about the quality of our state’s leaderships. Perhaps the bourbon should be named “Angels’ Tears.”

  3. I’m a single mom and I can’t put my daugter in daycare because I can’t afford it. It’s more than half my paycheck every week. I’ve been having to find friends and family members here and there to watch her, it’s been week by week. And it’s still not cheap paying them. Somedays I have to bring her with me to work because I don’t have any other option. It’s sad that the state now has a surplus and can’t find any money anywhere to help us out. I’m trying to work to show my daughter you can’t just sit around and not work your whole life. Why don’t we just cut off all new food stamp applicants or passport? Daycare assistance is just as important. I may have to quit my job soon if I can’t get any daycare help.

  4. i think the funding should stop i think all funding should stop for chfs until they find ones who do it for the children and not for the money so many child who are safe and better at honme is being taking from good parents to just receive funding is becoming outragest and i will not stop until this unjustice has stopped why pay someone for stealing kids just because they are the government when others go to jail

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