LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - "They're like family, a lot of them." That's how Daniel Lowe describes the relationship he has with the families he serves at the Big Blue Bird Early Childhood Center.
They need to be here," Lowe said. "I've had so many in my office crying because they have to pull their kids out. They had to stop working." Lowe's center participates in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), run through the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The program offers monetary help for working families to afford childcare.
"Everybody has a tough story," Lowe said. "I know these parents, I know when they're struggling."
"It was something I depended on because it paid the majority of my childcare so all I had to do was pay a co-pay," explained Porsche Carr. Carr used CCAP from August 2012 to August 2013. But cuts to the program over the past year have cut the number of parents that can participate, including Carr. "I only make eight dollars an hour. I didn't understand how it could happen."
"It's for working parents. It's for working families. You take away their assistance and they can't work," said Lowe. Lowe says last summer, the state cut the income eligibility by a third and stopped taking on new families, with several exceptions. But hope for his center, and the families that fill it, was on the horizon when the governor allocated money back to CCAP in his proposed 2014-2016 budget. But as the days neared the start of the fiscal year, Lowe said the state went silent.
"It's supposed to come back July 1st, at 125% of the Federal Poverty Level, but now nobody knows who's running the ship," Lowe said.
Late Friday, the governor's office sent out a press release that said new applications are delayed from July 1st to August 4th of this year. But they will increase the eligibility to 140% of the Federal Poverty Level.