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Progress on Child Care Support in KY

PHOTO: While applauding the restoration of child care assistance funding in Kentucky, advocates say continued improvements are needed. The owner of this child care center in Louisville says reimbursement rates need to be increased. Photo courtesy Angel House Child Development Center.
PHOTO: While applauding the restoration of child care assistance funding in Kentucky, advocates say continued improvements are needed. The owner of this child care center in Louisville says reimbursement rates need to be increased. Photo courtesy Angel House Child Development Center.
October 27, 2014

JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. – It was hailed as a major victory for children in Kentucky when, earlier this year, the Legislature restored funding for child care assistance.

But, advocates say additional improvements are needed, including expanded eligibility and making sure providers are reimbursed adequately.

In August, parents who had had their state support cut were able to re-enroll their children after lawmakers moved the eligibility cut-off back up to 140 percent.

But, Ruth Ann Hornback, who owns three child care centers in Louisville, says increasing the limit to 200 percent of poverty would help more working parents.

"Two hundred percent is still not that much money,” she stresses. “Not enough for you to, to be able to afford, you know, 150 a week for day care, you know, 600 a month.

“But, it is enough for people to better themselves and not be at risk of losing their child care."

According to the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) the cost of full-time care ranges from $3,700 to $16,400 a year, depending on where a family lives.

A new report from the NWLC finds that families in most states are better off this year, compared with last, because of improvements in child care assistance policies.

But, according to Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, even after lawmakers restored funding, something not reflected in the report's numbers, the state's eligibility threshold remains among the bottom 10 in the nation.

In addition, it's been eight years since the state raised its reimbursement rates for providers.

Hornback says for a small business owner like her that makes it very difficult to maintain a high quality of care.

"I do my best to provide the curriculum and a quality program to where these children are ready when they start kindergarten,” she says. “Because isn't that the whole reason behind going to preschool, is so that these children are ready?"

According to the report, Kentucky is one of seven states that has not changed its reimbursement rates since 2006.





Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY