LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Next week is a big week for thousands of parents who have had to quit their jobs to care for their children. Kentucky's Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) starts taking applications next week. It was phased out last year. Now that it's back, parents who found it made more economic sense to stay home than pay for child care will get the help they need to go back to work.
There's no summer brain drain here. The kids at Southside Christian Child Care's S. 2nd Street location are active and engaged.
"This isn't a babysitting service," said Jessa del Conte, director of the location. "They're learning their colors, they're learning their ABCs. It's truly preparing them for the next step, which is kindergarten and the foundation there prepares them for everything to come."
Soon, said del Conte, some of their friends who had to leave will be back to join them.
"I've had tours come back of families that were here that are so excited to be able to come back," del Conte said.
"There are literally thousands of parents waiting for this program to come back," said Brenda Bowman, who owns the day care and is also the president of Child Care Advocates of Kentucky. CCAK formed in 2012 when it became clear Kentucky was cutting the budget for CCAP.
"We saw children who were being put into environments that weren't safe," Bowman said, "We saw them being left at home with their mother's boyfriend or family members that weren't really equipped to prepare these children for kindergarten."
A lot of the parents, Bowman says, had to quit their jobs to stay home with their children.
"We have parents that are sitting at home, waiting to get back to work."
Starting August 4, that funding is back. Despite a get the word out campaign, Bowman said many parents haven't heard.
"It is difficult to reach everybody and so we're hoping this will help," said Bowman.
Del Conte says she's talked to plenty who have and are ready to come back and rejoin the family. Bowman says what CCAP really provides is a chance for families to work their way out of poverty, either through education or promotions on the job.
The assistance varies, depending on income levels. To find out if you qualify, click here.
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