Looming budget cuts leave parents and day care centers concerned - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Looming budget cuts leave parents and day care centers concerned

Kids napping at Southside Christian Child Care. Kids napping at Southside Christian Child Care.
Christina Stopher Christina Stopher
Adrienne Howard Adrienne Howard
Richard Morris Richard Morris
Southside Christian Child Care Southside Christian Child Care

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Parents across Kentucky are wondering how they can work and afford day care in light of major cuts by the Commonwealth.

Earlier in 2013, the state announced a multi-million dollar shortfall in the Department for Community Based Services. To make up for it, they're no longer taking applications for the Child Care Assistance Program and changing the eligibility on July 1. The state estimates more than 14,000 children will no longer qualify.

Nap time at Southside Christian Child Care is one of the many times of the day assistant director Christina Stopher can check on the kids - including her own. "Braden is five, well four. He'll be five in September and Jaden is three."

She's wants nothing more than the best for her children. Stopher wouldn't be able to do it without help through Kentucky's Assistance Program.

"If I didn't have it then I would have to pay $255 a week instead of $50 a week," said Stopher. "I wouldn't really be able to have any money at all after I paid that."

Soon that could be the case for Stopher. She's on the chopping block under the new eligibility rules. Instead of offering help to a family of four making $33,000 per year, the state will only offer subsidies to families making $22,000.

If Stopher keeps her children in day care under those provisions, she spends 75 percent of her weekly check on day care.

"I would have to quit work and stay home with my boys and get on all these assistance programs that really I don't need because I'm trying to better myself and better the future for my children," Stopher said.

Stopher's kids are two of about 40 at the center that lose the money. If all those parents have to quit work, "it means a big cut on staff. Probably 30 percent of the staff," said day care director Adrienne Howard.

Her center is one of thousands in the state in the same position wondering how the state could make such drastic cuts on children.

"We understand the state's situation in terms of money, but we do feel there's a way to make this happen if they really put their nose to the grindstone," said Richard Morris, day care owner.

In the meantime, the centers are trying to make cuts where they can so parents like Stopher can keep their children in day care at an affordable rate and hope it doesn't get as bad as they think.

Several owners and parents met with state leaders last week hoping to convince them to change the plan, however the state said everything is on track to take effect July 1.

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