FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Child care costs in the commonwealth are on the rise. Leaders with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce say parents can expect to pay up $11,000 a year. Now, Governor Andy Beshear has signed legislation for a new program to help lower some of those costs. The program would create employee childcare assistance partnerships.
In the bluegrass, childcare costs can range from $6,300 to $11,300 a year. Kaelyn Query is an entrepreneur and member of the Kentucky Chamber. She says her son's childcare is more than $800 a month.
Query says, "It's a lot of money when you're talking about one parent paying for something. But it's again a necessity I don't have the ability with what I do to keep him during the day."
Beshear signed legislation creating the program, $15 million is appropriated for it. Now, if employers want to provide a childcare assistance benefit the state will match it dollar for dollar depending on a household's income.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services helps parents through its existing childcare assistance programs. Leaders explain that this new program will have the potential to help even more parents, particularly those who make more money than other programs allow. They say this will help parents get back into the workforce.
Secretary for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Eric Friedlander, says "It's a beginning childcare is a very big need across the commonwealth there are deserts in many different places. Hopefully, this will help with some of that but it will also help with folks being able to get back to work."
These leaders are working as a bridge between parents, employers, and even childcare providers to make a difference.
Senior VP for Public Affairs with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kate Shanks, says, “We realize that there are some families where a parent will stay home and take care of the kids but in many cases that's not an option and also there are some individuals that want to get back to work and it's just simply about removing the barrier that families are facing."
Kaelyn says she knows that child care costs can be a heavy burden for some parents in the state. She knows that childcare is just as important for her son's development as it is for her to continue her work.
As a parent and an employer, she says she intends to offer these new benefits to her employees.
"It's a great bonus and benefit to be able to offer as an employee or as an employer, and again as we said it's a great benefit for the employee."