Article Bibliographic Information

Author: Beth Musgrave
Child care assistance programs to be dramatically cut in Kentucky
Published: January 29, 2013
Pertinent Developmental Issue-Budget Cuts on Childcare
Pertinent Developmental Issue-Budget Cuts on Childcare
The state officials made it public that low income families will cease
getting childcare assistance. This budget cut was also to be extended to
relatives and friends who raise children who have been neglected in any
way or abused children. The budget cuts come to effect as the Family
Services, and Health Cabinet seeks to cover the shortfalls that have
been projected to affect the Department of Community Based Services.
This department is responsible for guaranteeing the protection of
children and adults, as well as other programs that oversee the welfare
of the vulnerable, in society. The author points out that budget cuts to
social services and welfare of the poor and vulnerable people is not the
best decision that the department officials should be making the effect
of such actions land the heaviest impact on the life of children.
There has been an explosion of grandparents uncles and aunts taking care
of their kids, in the recent past. Further, worthy childcare is not an
extravagance for working families, which are low income earners. On the
contrary, worthy childcare is, essentially, a vital tool to enhance the
future chances and opportunities for the children of these families.
Healthcare and quality and meaningful education in children are the key
components, which can change the fate of millions of kids, in America.
However, the proposed budget cuts, which will be effective as from April
2013, will diminish the entire basic support for the poor and vulnerable
Low income families benefit a lot from the programs of childcare
assistance, which lowered the income requirements for vulnerable
families for childcare eligibility from $33, 075 to $22050. The
childcare assistance programs are tailored to facilitate the retention
of more and more families with low income and help them work while they
keep away from welfare. Further, low-income and vulnerable families will
enjoy access to a wide range of programs of childcare programs.
However, the budget cut will see more than 8,700 families lose their
position for childcare assistance money, which is utilized to subsidize
the cost of childcare programs. Once the budget cut is implemented, more
than 2,900 children will miss childcare programs. It is apparent that
the budget cuts will result to an increased number of parents quitting
their jobs because they cannot afford to pay for the basic needs and
childcare. The budget cut will render the working parents powerless as
they will be subjected to two impossible situations of choosing between
their kids and job. Though the budget cuts are expected to save the
state lots of dollars, and the economy will be relieved a substantial
portion of the money. The budget cuts will not only affect the childcare
subsidies but also other programs as wheel meal programs for the old and
medical facilities.
Childcare is a universal requirement for all people, regardless of their
economic, racial or social background. Children require quality care and
education programs, which facilitate them to grow to productive and
healthy citizens. The future opportunities and achievements of human
beings rely on the foundation that was set when the individuals were
young. Quality care can only be found in equipped childcare facilities,
which charge high fees for their services. Vulnerable and poor parents
as the Latinos do not have jobs that provide lucrative pay and they
depend on the government subsidies on such programs. Therefore, should
the budget cut be effected, the poor families will be plunged into a
dilemma of choosing between their jobs and their children. Evidently,
non-subsidized childcare is costly, and only the rich can afford.
Further, children who fail to receive appropriate care and nurture
experience emotional psychological problems, which will haunt the kids
to adulthood. These are the people who turn to crime as defense
mechanisms to deal with life anxiety. Therefore, the government should
seek an alternative method of reducing government expenditure, without
touching on childcare.
In the event that the parents cannot afford childcare cost they are
forced to care for their children, and this will eat up their entire
time leaving non for jobs. Eventually, the poor parents will be pushed
to the corner, and their only rescue is the welfare programs. Evidently,
welfare income is not sufficient for standard leaving thus it
propagates problems creating a vicious cycle of the same. Furthermore,
parents are pushed, by circumstances to seek the affordable, least
quality arrangements of childcare arrangements, which proven degrade the
development of kids. For instance, thousands of kids have been hurt or
injured while under the care of untrained baby sitters who leave
hazardous items with the children as hot tools and utensils.
The budget cut on the childcare programs is harmful and unfriendly to
vulnerable children and parents. These budget cuts expose kids to untold
dangers while they are young and such problems are likely to affect the
growth, development, behavior, as well as future opportunities. Research
shows that most kids that missed proper care do not recover from the
psychological torture as the problems follow them to adulthood. It is
imperative that the government reconsiders the option of cutting funding
on childcare and allocate adequate funds to ensure that parents and kids
continue to enjoy affordable, quality childcare. Children are
significant to the future productivity of a nation and their early
growth should be based on a strong foundation.
Copy of the Article
Child care assistance programs to be dramatically cut in Kentucky
By Beth Musgrave — [email protected]
FRANKFORT — The state will dramatically cut child care assistance to
low income families and will pay no new subsidies to relatives raising
abused or neglected children beginning in April, state officials
announced Tuesday.
The cuts to two key programs come as the Cabinet for Health and Family
Services is trying to fill a projected $86.6 million shortfall in the
budget for the Department for Community Based Services, which oversees
child and adult protection and other programs such as food stamps.
The cabinet has been able to plug $59.3 million in state cuts since 2009
with a combination of federal stimulus dollars, other federal money and
general cost-saving measures. But the federal dollars used to offset
those cuts have been depleted, said Cabinet for Health and Family
Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes. At the same time, the demand for
services has increased, she said.
“This is really tough and these are not the kinds of decisions that we
want to be making,” Haynes said. “Any reductions in services impacts a
child`s life.”
Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said the
cuts will have real consequences for families.
The number of grandparents, aunts and uncles taking care of children has
exploded in recent years, Brooks said. “We also know that quality child
care is not a luxury for working low income families — rather, it is
an essential tool to boost their children`s future outcomes in education
and health. Now those — and other key supports — are diminished.”
Beginning in April, there will be a moratorium on applications to the
child care assistance program continuing until as late as June 2014.
And, beginning in July, the income requirements for parents in the
program will change from 150 percent of the poverty level — $33,075
for a family of four — to 100 percent of the poverty level — or
$22,050 for a family of four.
The child care assistance program gives low-income families a stipend
for child care. The program is designed to keep more low-income families
working and off welfare and to expand access to early childhood
education programs.
Parents who receive the child care assistance money because they are
receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families money or are receiving
other child protection services will continue to receive those child
care assistance dollars, said Teresa James, commissioner of the
Department of Community Based Services.
But the cabinet estimates that as many 8,700 families could lose child
care assistance money when the new income guidelines take effect in
July. An additional 2,900 children per month will likely not receive
child care assistance because of the moratorium on new applications to
the program beginning in April. The moratorium on new applicants will be
in place until June 30, 2014, or until a savings of $38.4 million is
In total, the changes to the child care assistance program will result
in a savings of about $57.8 million, the cabinet estimates.
But the cabinet warns that the cuts could result in more parents out of
work because they can`t afford child care. Currently 24,400 families and
48,000 children receive child care assistance money. The average subsidy
is $376 per family, per month.
“I am very concerned that we are going to be taking working parents and
make them unable to work because they are not able to find child care,”
James said.
James said she is also worried how those cuts will effect nearly 2,400
child care centers that receive child care assistance money. Even with
the cuts, the child care assistance program will continue to serve about
28,000 children, cabinet officials say.
In addition to the cuts in the child care assistance program, the state
will be forced to limit money going into a program that provides money
for kinship care. In that program, relatives other than parents get a
$300 monthly stipend to help raise a child who has been removed from
home because of abuse or neglect.
Beginning in April, there will be a moratorium on any new kinship care
money. But James said that many of those children will be eligible for
other government programs such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
or food stamps. Children in kinship care will also still be eligible for
The moratorium on kinship care benefits is projected to save $8.3
million. Those who currently receive a stipend will continue to do so
until the child turns 18 or leaves the kinship care program for other
The moratorium on kinship care supplements after April 1 could result in
fewer families caring for relatives and more children being placed in
state-run foster care, which is more expensive than kinship care,
advocates say.
“It is something that we will be monitoring closely,” James said.
“Families, more times than not, will rise to the occasion and will help
take care of these kids.”
While federal and state money has been cut over the past four years, the
need — particularly for foster care and kinship care — has grown,
Haynes said.
“With programs like these, you have very little control over the growth
of the program,” Haynes said.
Kinship care, for example, has increased by 38 percent since 2007,
cabinet statistics show. More than 11,000 children were in the kinship
care program in 2012, up from 8,685 in 2007.
Children removed from homes because of abuse and neglect also have much
more complex behavioral problems and need more intensive services, which
has also driven up costs, James said. In addition to the cuts to the
kinship care and child care assistance program, the Department for
Community Based Services will also have to come up with $20.5 million in
cost savings through cuts to travel and other expenses, James said.
Haynes said that the state`s poor fiscal health means that there is no
additional money to offset the cuts.
“As I understand it, there are no plans from the legislature to re-open
the budget for any reason,” Haynes said. “We have to live within our
But Brooks said that it was time that the legislature put children and
not key industries first.
“We as a commonwealth must muster the courage to ensure that our
children have adequate resources,” Brooks said. “We have more than a few
“sacred cow” signature industries that seemingly always are protected in
tight budget times. Maybe it is time to label “kids” a signature
industry so our children have adequate supports today to build their
Rep. Jimmie Lee, D-Elizabethtown, chairs a key budget subcommittee that
oversees the cabinet`s budget. Lee, who was briefed on the cuts by the
cabinet on Tuesday afternoon, said that he and others will look at ways
to try to restore funding to these programs.
“It`s going to be have a devastating effect on those folks that need
that money to go back to work,” Lee said. “If they don`t have this
money, they are not going to be able to find child care and will likely
have to quit their jobs and stay home and take care of their kids, which
means they will go back on welfare.”