Increased Federal Child Care Funds Provide Needed Boost
Continued investments will support young children, working families, and the state economy
LOUISVILLE, KY – A new infographic from Kentucky Youth Advocates and several key Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children partners highlights how the recent federal investment in child care is fueling local economies and offering opportunities to working families.
Last Spring, Congress increased funding for child care assistance through the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). The Bevin Administration utilized the additional $42 million to raise child care provider payment rates, ease how quickly families lose Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) supports when they get raise or better paying job, to allow enrollment in post-secondary education or training to fulfill the 20-hour work requirement, cover costs of background checks on providers, and support child care of children in foster care.
“Parents need access to quality, reliable, affordable child care so they can go to work knowing their child is safe and well taken care of. This historic investment in child care assistance provides a crucial support for working families struggling to make ends meet, as well as a much need boost to the child care workforce,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.
According to the recent survey of 127 child care providers from 43 counties across the commonwealth, providers are seeing positive changes in their centers as a result of the federal funding. They also shared that continued investments are needed to allow local economies to grow, parents to work, and kids to thrive.
Survey results show that child care providers are using the increased CCAP reimbursement to invest in their workforce and in their businesses, which will improve the quality of care for young children.
- The great majority (65 percent) shared that the increase helped them keep their center doors open, allowing them to remain in the community and serve low-income working families.
- The increase helped them retain staff (46 percent), raise wages (25 percent), and give staff more hours (22 percent).
- The increase helped with hard cost for centers, too, including allowing centers to provide professional development for staff (37 percent), improve facilities (28 percent), and purchase new supplies (38 percent).
- Nearly half shared that they had (19 percent) or are planning to (29 percent) hire more staff.
“With the investment, we have been able to serve more families, including parents who are full time students and those who may receive a slight bump in pay,” said Mike Hammons, director of advocacy at Children, Inc. “The increase in reimbursement for child care has also been critical for our business bottom line. We believe that while the economy is good, and employers are having a hard time finding workers, this is the critical time to continue to invest in child care.”
Here are a few quotes from survey participants:
- “Where we felt there was no hope and had been thinking about closing our doors, now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.” – Harlan County child care provider
- “It will definitely help some families…We have seen some families lose CCAP assistance because of an increase in income but still not be able to pay for child care out of pocket.” – Rowan County child care provider
- “Helping these families get educations should end the cycle of requiring assistance in the future.” – Grant County child care provider
Only 11 percent of eligible Kentucky children and their families are being served by the Child Care Assistance Program, due in part to lack of access to child care providers and to those who accept the subsidy. Additional state and federal investments are needed to advance small businesses, boost local economies, allow more parents to work, and ensure the best possible child care for Kentucky’s young kids. Currently, Congress is taking the next steps needed to further boost federal supports for child care and advocates urge our Kentucky Congressional delegation to approve those investments.
The infographic, featuring all survey results, can be viewed here. Another survey will be conducted in Fall of 2019 to track ongoing impact of the recent federal investments and to understand continued need. Kentucky Youth Advocates and community partners will be inviting the Kentucky Congressional delegation to visit child care centers in their district to celebrate the investment and see firsthand the impact of boosted child care supports.
About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at www.kyyouth.org.