Changes to statewide child care program affecting day care owner - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Changes to statewide child care program affecting day care owners, parents

Some parents are struggling to get their government subsidy for child care. (Source: WAVE 3 News) Some parents are struggling to get their government subsidy for child care. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The delay in payments has caused some day care centers to close. (Source: WAVE 3 News) The delay in payments has caused some day care centers to close. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Changes to the statewide Child Care Assistance Program are affecting families and child care providers across the state.

Money that the state provides to families in need to pay for their child care has been delayed in some cases.

That's left some Louisville day care owners out of money. A couple have even had to close their doors.

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The Child Care Assistance Program, known as CCAP, was previously managed by a contracted provider. In October, CCAP was transitioned to the state's online service, Benefind.

A letter to child care providers from the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services explains the reason for the transition is to streamline benefits into one portal.

"The merge into Benefind has been a nightmare," Asia Rivers said.

Rivers owns Rivers Educational Center in Old Louisville. She says 85% of her clients use CCAP to subsidize their child care payments.

"I like to see when the families are smiling and they feel like they have accomplished something by going to work," Rivers said. 

She says throughout her four years as the day care's owner, she has received CCAP funds from the state a month after she provides service for families.

Since the changes to CCAP in October, Rivers has not received payments from the state for at least 10 families.

"The west end community is suffering the most," she told us. "If there is no change, those facilities could shut down just like my facility that I just opened was shut down."

Rivers could not afford to keep her second day care open.

She is trying to be flexible with parents but she can't provide a service she isn't being paid for.

"You have to go to the L&N building to get instruction on how to fix your CCAP contract," Sherrell Hood said. "When they open at 8 o'clock you are already fighting the crowds. It takes a long time."

Hood works at a fast food restaurant and uses CCAP. Since the change, her subsidy has not been sent to her son's child care provider.

"For now, I am paying cash for my son," Hood said. "I have to because I have a job and that's all I can do."

While Hood waits for the state to fix her CCAP payments, she says she is paying about $250 a week for child care.

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Rivers says she is starting to receive letters from the state notifying her of some of her client's CCAP contract termination.

A letter received in August told Rivers and other child care providers to continue providing services during the transition. Now Rivers is out three months of service.

"I lost five to six staff members because we weren't able to keep them on," Rivers said. "We have to have funds to operate and if we don't, the children suffer."

A representative for the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services acknowledged delays in October payments, but told us most of the issues have been resolved.

The department say as a whole, CCAP payments are not behind or delayed.

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