Recently, parents, providers, and employers came to Frankfort to testify before the House Budget Review Subcommittee about the importance of the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and ask them to increase funding for the program in this year’s state budget proposal.
The high cost of child care is a major barrier for low-income parents. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, 71 percent of non-working, low-income parents with children under age 5 say that the reason they aren’t working is because they are taking care of home/family. Adequately funding CCAP would allow the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to raise payment rates for providers, serve more children, and improve quality of care. Increased payment rates would ensure that child care providers can stay in business and continue to serve low-income families, recruit and retain quality teachers, and invest in much-needed facilities improvements or learning materials.
Among those testifying was Kayla, a 27-year-old single mother along with her adorable 3-year-old daughter, RaeLynn. Kayla shared that she was working a minimum wage job with few resources when her daughter was born and was at risk of losing her because she couldn’t provide the stability her daughter needed. She learned about the child care assistance program and enrolled her daughter at Southside Christian Childcare, subsequently allowing her to find a sustaining job to support them. She shared:
“This program gave us a chance. It gave us hope and helped us when no one else would. It allowed my child to have a safe place to go that I could access easily while I worked to get us out of the situation we were in. My daughter is excelling in her pre-school class where she has attended since birth. She doesn’t know it but having access to quality, affordable and reliable childcare has given her that. This program has offered a life for my daughter that I couldn’t have given her on my own. And it gave me the resources I needed to be able to make this life for us. The Kentucky childcare assistance program has given us a chance and a future and for that I am forever grateful.”
As Kentucky continues our efforts to increase workforce participation rates, we must seize the opportunity that child care assistance offers. While the budget passed by the Kentucky House included many strong provisions for Kentucky children, it did not include funding to ensure more families like Kayla’s can get a hand up. The Senate is now considering the budget. Help ensure that child care assistance gets much needed funding by taking action today – see our Action Alert for more details.