With a child care crisis growing in Kentucky, legislators introduced legislation to address this issue last session. HB 499 introduces the Employee Child Care Assistance Partnership (ECCAP). The program matches a contribution from employers with state dollars to help people get back to work by providing $15 million dollars to provide child care options to those who want or need to get back to work. Governor Beshear signed the legislation on April 8, 2022.

Following the introduction of the measure, the legislature also established the Early Childhood Education (ECE) task force to study innovative steps to curtail the damaging impacts — which include workplace entry/re-entry prevention for many parents, an environment of inadequate child care due to worker shortages and diminished academic/social development among children due to the lack of high quality care. The ECE has addressed and discussed the ECCAP.

The next step is to introduce the pilot program this summer. The legislature will have to approve more funding to continue the program beyond the pilot phase. Applications are expected to be available through the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in April.

This is a story about a solution for an ongoing and unfolding crisis of a non-partisan issue that could have devastating consequences for years to come. For local resources, we can connect you with representatives at Metro United Way, who have been invested in childhood development and are collaborating with state lawmakers to help implement solutions.