Child care budget cuts hurt low income families - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Child care budget cuts hurt low income families

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FRANKFORT, KY. (WDRB) -- Thousands of Kentucky families are about to be left without childcare. 

Budget cuts in Frankfort will cause some low-income families to lose their childcare assistance and income.

"I would definitely have to lay off a good portion of my staff," says Jessica Baker, the director of Leap Frog Academy.

Baker says, "If we lose half the kids, half the staff would have to go as well."

More than half of the southeast Jefferson County daycare's families are on a childcare assistance program that's about to be cut.

"If they cut childcare and we lose kids, we can't keep everybody on staff," says Baker.

It gets worse. Several of Baker's teachers work 40-hour weeks, but are also getting financial assistance from the state.  Baker says, "They're scared, honestly. I also have it and I am concerned."

The Cabinet for Health and Human Services announced the cuts would start in April. 

"As of April 1st, no new people will be added to it," says Susan Vessels, the executive director of Community Coordinated Child Care. 

Vessels says the cuts are deep and will affect tens of thousands of  families. 

Income requirements are about to change, too.

For example, a single parent with two children who earns $24,000 a year will no longer be eligible. The new maximum income is $18,000 a year.

Vessels says, "What that means is that in order to be able to get help paying for childcare, you will have to be poorer in Kentucky than any other state in the country. We will be dead last."

That's a scary thought for working parents like Jessica Baker. 

"We're single moms. We work one job, but because we work 40 hours a week, that puts us making too much money."

Most are already struggling to make ends meet.  "If we don't work the 40 hours, we can't pay for childcare without the assistance," says Baker. 

The income eligibility changes start in July.  We've also discovered that parents in the program are required to work.

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