Federal financial support and state recognition of child care workers as ‘essential’ have been bright spots
In June 2020, child care facilities began reopening, however many of them had lost staff through the lay-off period. Some, unable to sustain facility mortgages and rentals, and staff payments through the shutdown, were closed for good.
Jennifer Washburn, director of iKids in Benton, said her center that serves 80 students with 20 staff, would not have survived without federal relief aid and a paycheck protection loan.
“We lost $150,000 in 2020, and federal relief and loans were critical in our survival,” said Washburn. “My success is not measured in dollars. It is measured in families and their success.”
The recently passed federal stimulus package provided $15 billion allocation for child-development block grants, $1 billion for Head Start, and a $24 billion stabilization fund for providers, which will be distributed by states, including Kentucky.
“We are pleased that the federal support is robust and flexible, allowing states like Kentucky to support operating costs, co-pays and tuition based on enrollment, training and professional development, facility maintenance and cleaning,” said Ramsey.
On Feb. 15, Gov. Beshear also announced that Kentucky’s child care workers were added to the priority list for COVID vaccinations. The Prichard Committee and our early childhood partners from across the state pushed for this move when vaccine rollouts began.
Cori Gadansky, executive director of Community Coordinated Child Care, a Louisville-based group that partners with Prichard, told the Courier-Journal that she was delighted by the prioritization, and immediately began informing centers of the decision.
“This prioritization was crucial in helping our workers and families feel safer about returning to our centers,” said Gadansky.