LEXINGTON, Ky. – Nearly 30 percent of respondents to a recent survey of Kentucky parents and families say they're struggling to find child care as different sectors of the economy begin to reopen. Additionally, more than half of the 1,570 survey respondents reported stress about sending their child back to child care as “moderate” to “extreme.” 

What You Need To Know

  • Parents say stress levels are "Moderate" to "Extreme" on sending children back to child care

  • Request made to Congress for $50 billion in federal funding for child care

  • Kentucky's share of that funding would be over $900 Million

  • Health and safety of children main concern, parents say

The Prichard Committee, along with other national and state partners, has asked Congress for $50 billion in federal stimulus funding for child care. Preliminary estimates show Kentucky’s share of $50 billion could be approximately $958 million. This would invest in care for the children of essential workers, support providers with significant costs related to re-opening and re-hiring, and help ensure a robust child care system is sustainable coming out of the ongoing national emergency.

“Kentucky’s childcare ecosystem was already in a fragile state of existence before the pandemic,” said Brigitte Blom Ramsey, Prichard Committee president and CEO. “Now, following the permanent closures of some child care providers, on top of the loss of nearly half from 2013 to 2019, Kentucky parents are now facing even tougher choices when it comes to their children’s care. It is imperative for both our families and our economy that Congress provide assistance to Kentucky’s child care system as part of the federal stimulus efforts.”

The Kentucky Child Care Parent and Family Survey was conducted in partnership with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, Kentucky Youth Advocates, Metro United Way, United Way of Kentucky, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Learning Grove, Child Care Advocates of Kentucky, Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C), Appalachian Early Childhood Network and the Child Care Council of Kentucky. The partners released a report Thursday, July 23, that included the following survey results.

  • 45 percent of parents are either unsure, will not or are delaying sending children back to the same child care setting they attended before the pandemic;
  • Of those not sending children back, 15 percent will be more comfortable between 3 and 12 months from now, while over 50 percent remain unsure about their children’s future in child care;
  • The most significant concern for parents in sending children back is the health and safety of children and their family members;
  • More than 70 percent of respondents reported having school-age children as well – underscoring the critical role child care plays in out-of-school care and education and will be necessary as school districts choose between alternatives for restarting school; and
  • 92 percent of respondents said they support more government support to help providers meet new requirements and guidelines related to pandemic.

When asked what child care providers can do to make them feel better about returning their children to child care facilities, overall comments exhibited the level of uncertainty parents and families are feeling. Many parents and families emphasized adherence to CDC and state health/safety guidelines, while some also indicated smaller class sizes, alternative scheduling, and better communications would be necessary.

“Parents’ health and safety concerns are valid and must be considered. Yet, all of these options require money that these centers, which typically operate on shoestring budgets as small businesses, simply do not have,” said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “Continued federal and state investment in the infrastructure of the child care sector would allow kids to have quality early learning opportunities, parents to have safer care options as they go to work, and the economy to begin to rebuild.”