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Deep Cuts to Child Care, Kinship Care Services an "Alarm Bell"

PHOTO: State budget cuts are expected to reduce child care and kinship care services for low-income Kentucky families, starting as early as April.
PHOTO: State budget cuts are expected to reduce child care and kinship care services for low-income Kentucky families, starting as early as April.
February 7, 2013

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Millions of dollars in state budget cuts will reduce the help that Kentucky gives to thousands of low-income families for child care so parents can remain in the workforce.

The nearly $87 million shortfall also will reduce support for kinship care, the term for relatives taking care of children who aren't their own.

Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, warned that deep cuts to child care could have lasting negative effects on young children.

"Quality early child care programs are a real door-opener for low-income kids," he said, "whether it's in health or education later in life."

The Kentucky Department of Community-Based Services says about a third of the 24,000 families it subsidizes will lose their child-care money. The cutbacks will impact more than 14,000 children.

Brooks said slashing support for kinship care may have the effect of forcing more Kentucky children into foster care.

"We know that the level of kinship care in Kentucky has exploded," he said. "Twice as many kids in the last decade live in some kind of kinship care arrangements."

Brooks described the deep cuts as an "alarm bell" for state lawmakers, adding that they either need to re-examine their budget priorities for children or find ways to create new revenue.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY