Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates
Louisville, KY – Kentucky’s Division of Child Care’s plan to use the estimated $42 million in new federal funding for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) exemplifies common sense solutions for Kentucky kids and families, workforce development, and local economies.
CCAP provides a crucial support to working Kentucky families who are struggling to make ends meet. Among the plan announced, two aspects are particularly significant:
First, the increased exit ramp to 200% of the federal poverty line (FPL) helps ensure parents aren’t penalized for getting a raise or a better paying job by suddenly having to pay the full cost of child care on their own. It ensures that a parent’s career progress does not inadvertently backfire – turning what should be a financial positive into a financial negative.
Secondly, by now allowing full-time enrollment in post-secondary education or training to fulfill the 20-hour work requirement for CCAP, parents will have less barriers to successfully completing their degree, thereby increasing their earning potential, and becoming self-sufficient. In a lot of ways, this decision means that the administration is matching rhetoric with reality. It rewards, rather than punishes, a parent’s commitment to lift career aspirations. It’s a support for kids and a workforce boost for parents.
The administration also increased CCAP reimbursement rates for child care providers to the 40th percentile of market rates. While this is critical to ensuring the availability of quality child care options in a community for all families, including those who pay full price and those enrolled in CCAP, realistically, providers will still face tough issues in recruiting and retaining teachers, covering the cost of offering high quality care, and investing in improvements to their facilities. Increasing reimbursement levels to the 75th percentile of market rates still needs an ongoing commitment for us to achieve all we need to around quality, accessible care.
With parents of nearly one in 10 young children in Kentucky having trouble working due to lack of child care options, it is important to celebrate these changes in child care assistance. And we must not lose sight of the continued need to expand eligibility to 200% of the FPL so that all low-income parents have access to affordable, high-quality child care options.
Kids win when leaders focus on common sense and common ground solutions that are good for families. And the Division of Child Care has done just that.
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.