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. This stems from a decision by the Department for Community Based Services to cut funding for both programs – a move that was expected to save only 0.4 percent of the state budget.
Advocates across the state responded to these cuts to children’s programs by submitting written comments and testifying at a public hearing on May 21. Single parents of young children wrote about how they may have to quit their jobs because they can no longer afford child care. Grandparents raising grandchildren shared how important those $300 monthly kinship care payments were in helping them to be able to afford to raise the kids. One after another, advocates made the clear case that the cuts threaten public safety, education, the health and development of children, and the stability of families in ways that will cost Kentucky for years to come.
On Monday, the Cabinet released its official statements of consideration to advocates’ concerns. In a nutshell, it responded in purely economic terms saying we just don’t have the money. Read advocates’ comments on child care subsidies and kinship care and the Cabinet’s response for yourself. What’s your take?
Kentucky Youth Advocates and our partners across the state will continue to make the case that in addition to causing immediate harm, these cuts are pennywise and pound foolish. It’s time for our state to build a budget that gives every child the best opportunity to thrive in childhood and succeed as an adult.