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Ky. officials hope new incentives create more childcare options

Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 10:45 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - While many parents are back in the office, many kids aren’t back in the classroom. It’s increasing the need for childcare facilities while those are at a decreased operating capacity.

“We recognize it’s been a difficult time for childcare providers and for parents,” Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Eric Friedlander said. “We want to make sure that we support the adequate capacity and access to childcare.”

So, the state announced Monday they will offer incentives for individuals trying to start a small scale daycare or childcare facility, like a $2,500 dollar stipend, streamlined processes for certification and background checks, and more.

The intent is to encourage smaller, in-home daycares and the idea came with parents like Kendra White in mind.

White is helping out a couple of other families in the Jessamine County school district by hosting a learning pod at her house, making sure a small group of students is getting their NTI school assignments done while their parents are at work.

But, she only does this out of necessity and said that money would be put to better use in schools.

“I have no interest in becoming a childcare provider, I have a lot of interest in my kids going to school,” White said. “Hopefully this need isn’t going to last very long, so let’s put that toward touchless water fountains, or touchless doors, or air purification systems, something that will get those kids back there sooner because it is going well now, but it is not sustainable.”

While it’s not an incentive White would consider, state officials are hoping other people do and that it will create more options for childcare in the commonwealth.

“We’re going to learn whether this makes a difference, whether this is helpful and we hope that it is,” Friedlander said. “We need more folks to participate in those smaller size childcare experiences.”

“I think people are only doing this because there is a need,” White said. “We’re hoping and praying that come September 28th, our doors will open.”

The state is also changing the group size recommendation for those facilities from 10 people to 15 people.

Friedlander did say that registering as a childcare facility is only being encouraged. Those parents who are only holding learning pods for the purpose of NTI are not required to register with the state.

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