Parents, daycare operators protest cuts to state assistance - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Parents, daycare operators protest cuts to state assistance program

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Devastating and cruel -- those are words being used to describe cuts to Kentucky's Childcare Assistance Program. Supporters of the program are racing the clock to try and stop the cuts.

As the General Assembly continues to struggle with a $30 billion shortfall to the state's pension system, one group came to Frankfort to raise the alarm about a $50 million cut to a state child care program.

It's not unusual to see kids visiting the State Capitol. But youngsters were brought there on Monday to put a face on cuts to the state's Child Care Assistance Program. The program provides daycare aid to low-income families.

Supporters claim the cuts will mean 20,000 children will lose access to licensed child care.

"These are real cuts that are going to affect real people in terms of mommies and their children," said Steve Magre of the group Child Care Advocates of Kentucky.

Kristen Tipton runs a daycare center in Valley Station. She says she will lose 30 percent of her children.  "Then you're going to lose 30 percent of our staff. And then we'll have to raise rates for people who don't belong to this program. Then, how are they going to do it?" said Kristen Tipton, director of Louisville's Southside Christian Child Care

Lakisha Hopson, of Outer Loop Child Care in Louisville says her daycare center will have to shut down. "There's not going to be many daycare centers open after this cut takes place," said Hopson.

Child care advocates say Kentucky is failing its children. And to illustrate the point, the kids delivered hundreds of failing report cards to Gov. Beshear's office.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services says it is facing an $86-million shortfall, in part because of federal cuts.

But supporters believe the cabinet can save money elsewhere.  "I think everyone's working feverishly to see if they can find the money," said Magre.

"You're going to cut there? You couldn't find somewhere else to cut? You couldn't do a little something somewhere else? Really? We're going to take it from the kids again," said Tipton. 

All sides say they are working together, but time is short. The cuts go into effect on April 1.

Copyright 2013 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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