On December 6th, 2017 the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children held a partner summit to reveal the 2018 Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children policy priorities, which are categorized by thriving communities, strong families, and successful kids.
2018 Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children Policy Priorities of Interest to Kentucky’s Voice Members:
1) Strengthen child care support for working parents by increasing reimbursement rates for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and allowing parents earning income up to 200% of the federal poverty level to receive CCAP.
2) Help Kentucky parents improve their education and future success by ensuring they have access to child care by eliminating the CCAP 20 hour work requirement for full-time students.
The legislative panel featured Senator David Givens, Representative Joni Jenkins, Co-Chair of the House Working Group on Adoption, and Anne-Tyler Morgan, Senior Policy Advisor and Deputy General Counsel for the Majority Caucus Leadership of the Kentucky House of Representatives. The legislative panel revealed the main focus of the 2018 legislative will be pension reform and the budget. The legislators noted that advocates for Kentucky’s kids should not only look at what is happening in Frankfort, but also to what is happening in Washington, D.C. as this will impact the funding for the state.
Senator Givens noted that a policy priority, such as the state refundable Earned Income Tax Credit, is not a matter of “if”, but of “when” it will happen. The state refundable Earned Income Tax Credit puts money back into the budget, which is vital for revenue reform.
On the topic of early childhood, Representative Jenkins indicated, there is a “need for appropriate and affordable childcare.” Also, an increase in eligibility for CCAP and increased reimbursement for providers must be framed as an economic development and workforce issue given the state of pension reform and the budget. Once again, Senator Givens advocated for individuals to target Washington, D.C., as CCAP federal funds slowly diminish.
On the other hand, helping Kentucky parents improve their education and future success by ensuring they have access to child care is also a topic legislators touched on in the panel. Senator Givens reported the rural and urban divide impacts accessibility to child care: “quality childcare is not the problem; accessibility to child care is the problem. We don’t have the places for them to go.”
Another topic of discussion amongst the legislators included family preservation and early intervention. Representative Jenkins reported investment in family preservation and early intervention will save the state money down the road. Similarly, a recommendation from the House Working Group is to form a statutory committee around child welfare.
In closing advice to the advocates, the legislative panel reinforced examining an issue not only from its symptoms, but by the causes. Symptoms only add to problems that have built up overtime, whereas addressing the causes can offer long term solutions by teasing out the long term problems. On a different note, Representative Jenkins reminded the advocates that “these issues are not political”, as everyone wants Kentucky kids to succeed.