State Child Care Assistance Dealt Major Cuts
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A round of recently-announced state cuts to child care assistance is expected to affect thousands of low-income families in Kentucky.
Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes says federal and state cuts, along with larger caseloads, have translated to a projected shortfall of more than $86 million for the state Department of Community Based Services. To plug the gap, the agency is cutting child care assistance and ending subsidies to relatives caring for abused or neglected children starting in April.
"I don't think anyone has really fully understood the impact this is going to have on people," says Jack Burch, executive director for Community Action Council, which has called the cuts “catastrophic.”
Burch and others worry that if the subsidies dry up, low-income parents may turn to unlicensed childcare facilities or choose to stop working to stay at home, which could wind up adding to the state’s budget woes.
"If they don't work, becoming eligible for other forms of state assistance, it might end up actually costing the state more than subsidizing their childcare," Burch warns.
Haynes says these aren’t the kind of decision the state wants to be making.
The changes are expected to result in a savings of about $58 million.