The Richmond Register

Local News

February 20, 2013

Loss of child care subsidies a concern for many in state

FRANKFORT — For lack of $66 million to help with child care costs for the working poor, the state may witness the loss of thousands of jobs and incur even greater costs down the road.

That was the message from child care workers and advocates before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday. Sitting behind those who were testifying, other child care workers nodded with each dire warning and applauded when speakers concluded their comments.

The state has announced it will cease child-care subsidies for the working poor and those seeking to better their education as of April 1 in response to a budget shortfall. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which provides $66 million in child care subsidies, faces an $86 million shortfall.

But it’s a short-sighted, penny-wise and pound foolish idea, according to those who addressed the legislative committee Wednesday.

“If you don’t invest in the playpen, you’re going to invest in the state pen later on,” said Kristen Tipton of Southside Church Charities Child Care of Louisville.

Failing to provide those child care subsidies will have a much greater impact than just on the affected families, according to Gerry Roll, Executive Director of Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky based in Hazard.

Many of the parents who depend on New Beginnings, a day care in Hazard, make as little as $7 or $8 an hour, and losing their subsidized child care will probably mean they can’t work, Roll told lawmakers.

Roll said many child-care centers have a majority of clients who receive the subsidies and if they are cut off, those child care centers will not be able to continue operating.

That could put another 12,500 child-care workers out of work, Roll said, most of whom make between $15,000 and $20,000 a year. She said 78 percent of the clients at New Beginnings in Hazard receive the child-care subsidy — and if the center loses that income, it won’t be able to stay open even to serve the full-pay clients.

“It ALL goes away come April 1.” Roll said. “These are working parents we are about to squash.”

That will affect local economies as well, she said.

Jeff Burch, executive director of the Lexington Community Action Council, reminded lawmakers that the whole idea of child-care subsidies was part of the 1996 Welfare Reform, a promise to mothers with children that if they sought work or went back to school, they would receive help with their child-care costs.

Adrienne Bush who operates New Beginnings tried to put that into perspective for the lawmakers.

She has a kindergarten-age child whose mother enrolled him in the center when he was a toddler so she could go back to school.

“She is now a registered nurse, and she now pays the market rate for child care,” Bush said. “She pays more taxes now than I do.”

The parents of another child each have jobs but don’t earn enough to pay for child care without the subsidy, Bush said. But if they lose that assistance, Bush said, one of the parents will almost certainly have to quit a job.

Lawmakers were sympathetic, but except for the Committee Chair, Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, they didn’t offer much hope during a non-budget session of the General Assembly.

Denton said somehow, someway the administration and lawmakers had to come up with some funding for the program by April 1.

But Teresa James, Commissioner for Family Based Services for the cabinet, said there isn’t available money left which can be diverted to the child-care subsidies.

James said her department cannot move money that is tied to federal programs because that would cost the state even more in federal funding.

“All the funds we have left are attached to federal programs, and if we took money from those, then we’d lose those federal funds,” James said.

But rather than dispute the testimony of child-care advocates before the legislative committee, James said she agrees with them.

“There was nothing said (Wednesday) that I don’t agree with,” James said. She said without the child-care subsidies, she expects to see increases in the number of children placed into potentially harmful or neglectful environments and an increase in demand for income assistance for those who have to quit work to care for their children.

“This was the most difficult decision of my professional career,” James said. “But within the department, there simply is not funding latitude.”

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 8-1 Tanya R. Horn.jpg Store employee charged with taking $10,000

    Tanya R. Horn, 33, of Darlene Court, pilfered $10,196 in cash from Posh Tots on Meridian Way over the course of two years, according to a Richmond Police report.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30 Candids 1.jpg Madison County Fair paid admissions total 10,000 by Tuesday

    Approximately 10,000 people had purchased tickets to the Madison County Fair by Tuesday evening, Billy Tudor, fair board president said Wednesday morning.
    The count does not include Sunday’s Family Fun Day, which offered free admission, Tudor said.

    July 31, 2014 10 Photos

  • 7-31 Pageant Toddler Girl Winners.jpg Babies, toddlers crowned at Madison County Fair

      

    July 31, 2014 4 Photos

  • Airport getting $600,000 in federal funds

    On July 14, Gov. Steve Beshear announced the Madison Airport and the Eastern Kentucky University aviation program would be receiving $1.1 million for expanded and improved facilities.
    On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Sixth District, announced the airport also would benefit from $600,000 in Federal Aviation Administration funds.

    July 31, 2014

  • Veggies going on the grill Saturday

    The Madison County Farmers Market will demonstrate Saturday that fresh garden vegetables can go on the grill as well as in a salad.
    The Madison County Extension Service staff, along with members of the extension homemakers clubs, will be on hand to show market customers how tasty grilled vegetables can be, said Gina Noe, extension agent for family and consumer sciences.

    July 31, 2014

  • Stumbo says McConnell ‘handpicked’ leader of coal association

    Democratic Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo said Wednesday there’s an obvious reason the president of the Kentucky Coal Association has publicly defended Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s support of the coal industry.

    July 31, 2014

  • Berea utility doubles solar farm, again

    Berea Municipal Utilities started its solar farm in October 2011 with 60 panels. In less that five days, all were leased.
    Another 60, which became operational in June 2012, were leased in less than four months.
    Now, the farm again has doubled, with the addition of 126 panels that are ready for leasing, said Steve Boyce, a retired Berea College professor who has been involved with the program since its inception.

    July 30, 2014

  • Miss Madison Winners 2.jpg My fair ladies

      

    July 29, 2014 5 Photos

  • 10th Quilt Extravaganza is Friday, Saturday

    Displays of quilts by men, baby quilts, the Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern, an exhibit of feed sack fabric, ongoing demonstrations, and a vendors market are features of the 10th Berea Quilt Extravaganza Friday and Saturday at Berea Community School off Ellipse Street.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-30 Samantha Frederick.jpg RPD: Heroin sales lead to trafficking indictment

    Executing a warrant issued after Samantha Frederick, 29, Northgate Drive, was indicted July 16 by a Madison County grand jury, Richmond Police arrested her Monday on drug trafficking charges.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo