Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear Strengthens Quality of Child Care by Increasing Provider Rates
Rate increase also improves parents’ access to quality care
FRANKFORT, Ky. – In an effort to increase the quality and access of child care for Kentucky families, Gov. Steve Beshear is increasing reimbursement rates by 5 percent for child care providers participating in the Kentucky’s Child Care Assistance Program or CCAP.
CCAP provides access to quality child care for eligible Kentucky parents who work or participate in education and training programs. Child care rates in the program have been frozen since 2006. The increase is effective Jan. 1.
The Governor’s action targets approximately 1,570 child care providers statewide that deliver child care to almost 24,000 Kentucky children, who qualify and participate in CCAP.
“At the request of the Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, I’m proud to approve this rate increase to assist low-income working families with access to quality child care across the Commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said. “There is no better investment than strengthening our families’ foundation – with more children learning and more parents earning.”
The current statewide average reimbursement for CCAP children to child care providers is $10.23 a day, or approximately 37 percent of Kentucky’s average market rate. Most CCAP providers will see an increase of approximately $1 per child per day, or an average of 5 percent.
Providers that have a 2-star rating or higher in STARS, the state’s quality rating and improvement system, will qualify for an additional rate increase as follows:
- An additional $1 per child per day for all providers with a STAR level 2 rating;
- An additional $1.50 per child per day for all providers with a STAR level 3 rating; and
- An additional $2 per child per day for all providers with a STAR level 4 rating.
The increase will assist child care centers in improving staff salaries, purchasing additional educational resources to provide higher-quality early learning experiences for children, and will stabilize and possibly increase the child care provider market – providing parents more access to quality child care.
The increase totals $15 million that is covered 100 percent by the federal Child Care Development Fund grant, so no new state funds are required in fiscal year 2017 or fiscal year 2018.
The federal funding is available due to a drop in the number of children and families applying for assistance. A budget shortfall beginning in 2013 caused cuts to the CCAP program; however, once cuts were restored by Gov. Beshear in the fall of 2014, the number of families re-enrolling their children in CCAP did not rise as quickly as state leaders expected. This was due, in part, to an increase in the number of full-day preschool and Head Start programs, and a decrease in the number of licensed child care centers, particularly centers serving CCAP families.
Gov. Beshear said he is increasing rates now after administrators confirmed no unforeseen enrollment surge in CCAP – especially after the back-to-school months.
In addition to the rate increase, regulations filed today also include provisions that make it more difficult for individuals who have previously committed fraud and abuse in the child care program to reopen under a different name or legal entity.
In 2014, the Governor successfully pushed for legislation to implement a five-star rating system, Kentucky All STARS, for early child care and education programs. This system will help families more easily choose quality facilities, so their children are more likely to arrive at school ready to learn and succeed. The new five-star rating system will be implemented by July 1, 2016.
Throughout his administration, Gov. Beshear has supported the foundation for learning at the earliest ages. His administration has taken several steps to get all Kentucky children off to a good start in their lives even before they reach school age.
This included the creation of the Office of Early Childhood, implementing kindergarten-readiness screenings, and helping to secure a $44 million Race To The Top grant to support parents and improve early learning programs for thousands of Kentucky children under the age of five.