Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director, Kentucky Youth Advocates
Louisville, KY – It may not be Derby Day, but the Commonwealth scored a trifecta win today! Kids, families, and our economy – at both local and state levels – won!
That big win is a result of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ announcement that families that earn up to 85% of State Median Income ($5,504 for a family of four) are now eligible to receive assistance paying for child care.
Access to high-quality child care helps children develop the range of skills that will allow them to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. It helps parents – especially mothers – join and stay in the workforce and build an economic base for their families. And it is a vital lever for employers and local economies by increasing workforce participation.
While this is an announcement that merits real celebration, we still have challenges ahead.
As an example, the Cabinet must ensure a smooth process for families who are applying for subsidies through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), along with intentional outreach efforts to make sure all eligible families know that this is available to them.
This boost to Kentucky is made possible through the American Rescue Plan. However, without continued Federal support, access to child care in Kentucky will be under threat so we call upon our Congressmen and Senators to lead a national effort in this vital sector.
The state of the state’s child care system is fragile. Nearly 50% of Kentucky families who need child care struggle to find a space for their kids. The pandemic has exacerbated the crisis as thousands of child care providers have closed their businesses. A growing tide of educators are leaving the industry because they can’t afford to stay, and that trendline is creating an unsustainable workforce level.
We thank Secretary Friedlander and the Cabinet for its action today. Additionally, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth are national child care heroes for ensuring child care was included in the recent Federal relief measures. We urge continued bipartisan efforts – in Congress and in the Kentucky General Assembly – to develop a sustainable funding mechanism that will ensure child care is available, accessible, and affordable for Kentucky families, and that a laser focus on increased compensation for child care teachers becomes an action imperative in the immediate.
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 kyyouth.org.
Leave A Comment