Low income families could lose child care assistance
BENTON, Ky. - James is 7-years-old and spends five days a week at Kids Kare. His mother, meanwhile, attends school and holds down a full-time job. His older brother is not at the facility. He is spending the summer with friends and at the pool.
Lacey Lovett says she cannot afford the extra $75 each week.
Things are tough, she admits, and about to be tougher. State budget cuts will reduce the help she currently gets to enroll her three youngest at Kids Kare. Those cuts could have many families paying more. In fact, about 8,700 families are covered under the Child Care Assistance Program.
Those guidelines changed July 1, lowering the average household income threshhold by several hundred dollars each month and making it more difficult for families to qualify. One advocacy group estimates some 1,400 children that once qualified will be kept out of the program.
Debbie Dycus, the Director at Kid Kare said Monday, "This is not the place to do the cuts."
Dycus says many of the kids here will have to go elsewhere. Parents, she says, will not have a choice, "Some of these parents already struggle with their childcare assistance. They still struggle from week to week. This is just one big blow to knock 'em down."
She says she worries not only about parents but kids, their nutrition, their socialization, even the way they will fill their days.
Kids like James, whose mother says she does not know where the 7-year-old and his brothers will go.
"I don't even know how they think it's feasible, single parents can afford this budget cut," Lovett said of swallowing an additional $600 each month.
In all, it is estimated these cuts will save 0.4 percent of the state's budget, biut critics say it will likely cause increases in costs to other state programs including welfare and unemployment.