FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Child care providers from around the commonwealth were in Frankfort on Thursday for an issue with the state's Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). The program provides child care payment assistance for qualifying families.
Providers said a recent change to the program has delayed payments, impacting their businesses, families and kids.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which manages CCAP, said there aren't any problems.
"We are here because there are providers and clients throughout Kentucky who are really suffering," Kids Matter Coalition spokesperson Bradley Stevenson said.
The Kids Matter Coalition and Stevenson previously managed Kentucky's Child Care Assistance Program. In October, CCAP was transitioned to the private sector online service contracted by the state, Benefind.
Stevenson said his organization does not want the contract back. The coalition is standing up for child care providers who said they are not receiving CCAP payments, he said.
"That puts a fiscal impact on the local businesses to the tune of $630,808," Stevenson said.
Deck Decker with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services said CCAP payments are being processed. He said the new process does take longer, but his office wasn't aware of any issues until January.
"Our payments are increasing substantially," Deck Decker said.
Christa Bell, who works in the Division of Child Care, said an online portal is being created so daycare providers will be able to access their payments firsthand.
"We heard early on that providers were frustrated by the process of enrollment certificates being issued to the client rather than the provider," Christa Bell said.
Asia Rivers was one of the child care facility owners in the meeting. Her center in Old Louisville experienced missing payments after the CCAP transition. She was in Frankfort on Thursday, disappointed to hear directors say they did not know about the problems.
"This was a disconnect. Providers paid the price, families paid the price, because most of the providers had to turn away those families," Rivers said. "I just hope the child care centers don't fall during these hard financial times, because the kids suffer," Rivers said.
House Bill 342 (HB342) was recently filed to reorganize CCAP to the Department of Education and Workforce. The Kids Matter Coalition is an advocate for the bill.
The Cabinet of Health and Family Services said they do not support HB342 because of the financial repercussions and the retraining that would have to be done.