Expanding Early Education in Minnesota and Missouri, Cutting Child Care in Kentucky
Minnesota and Missouri have joined Massachusetts in proposing new state investments in early childhood education and care. However, just as we were cheering those states, Kentucky announced damaging cuts to its child care assistance program, reminding us yet again that these programs and the low-income women and children they support are in a fragile position.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has proposed to provide $20 million over the 2014-2015 biennium to increase rates for child care providers serving families receiving child care assistance. He has also proposed (PDF) to provide $44 million to expand scholarships to enable low-income families to purchase high-quality early care and education for their children.
Meanwhile, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has proposed an additional $17 million for early childhood education, which will more than double funding for the Missouri Preschool program, provide a $3.5 million increase for Early Head Start, and provide a $3.5 million increase for grants to help child care providers improve their quality. Governor Nixon has also proposed to allow families to continue receiving child care assistance until their incomes reach 175 percent of poverty, an increase from the current limit of 133 percent of poverty (although families would still only initially qualify with incomes up to 122 percent of poverty).
In contrast, Kentucky plans to stop accepting new applications for child care assistance in April and lower the income limit for families already receiving child care assistance in July. Families have been able to receive child care assistance with incomes up to 150 percent of poverty, but as of July, they will lose their assistance once their incomes reach 100 percent of poverty. This eligibility change will eliminate an estimated 8,700 families from the program and make Kentucky’s income limit the lowest in the country. The cuts to child care assistance will total $57.8 million during the 2014 fiscal year.
Kentucky’s cuts will have long-term consequences: many young children will be denied access to high-quality child care programs that would help prepare them for future success in school and many parents will not be able to afford the child care they need to work. Other states such as Minnesota, Missouri, and Massachusetts have recognized these costs of failing to invest in early care and education and are heading in the opposite direction—one that is much more promising.
Articles by Topic
Join the New Reproductive Health Campaign
Go to ThisIsPersonal.org to get the facts and tools you need to help protect women's reproductive health.