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Kentuckians support more public spending for child care, according to survey

A group of children are indoors in their preschool classroom. The camera focuses on a boy who is playing with wooden building blocks.
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via Kentucky Lantern
More than 60% of both parents and voters said that child care in Kentucky was neither affordable nor plentiful enough.

Most Kentucky voters surveyed in June said access to high-quality child care is essential to their ability to work, but they say the state isn’t doing enough to ensure they have it.

Also, 75% of parents and 64% of voters are more likely to vote for a governor candidate in November who supports access to affordable, high-quality child care. That increases to 76% for Democrats. It drops to 55% for Republicans and 53% for Independents.

These numbers come from a Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence survey of 800 registered Kentucky voters conducted June 22-29. The United Way of Greater Cincinnati funded this research and released the results Wednesday.

The survey shows that a majority of voters, regardless of political party, support more taxpayer money going toward providing high-quality child care that parents can afford. Asked if they supported or opposed such a policy, 72% of voters and 81% of parents supported it.

More Democrats (85%) and Independents (63%) than Republicans (62%) support such a policy.

“Voters are clearly indicating the time is now for policymakers, business and community leaders to design the infrastructure necessary to get little learners off to a strong start while supporting their parents to meaningfully attach to the workforce,” Brigitte Blom, president and CEO of the Prichard Committee, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, parents make work-related sacrifices in favor of child care, the survey showed.

Nearly half of the parents surveyed said they’ve had to leave work early to take care of a child’s needs. Others limited time at work, stayed home, switched their job in favor of more flexibility and turned down promotions.

Nearly 40% of parents surveyed said they put off a major purchase to provide child care. Others reduced essential and non essential spending, asked loved ones for financial support and used emergency savings.

More than 60% of both parents and voters said that child care in Kentucky was neither affordable nor plentiful enough. Most parents and voters surveyed said there should be more public-school pre-K programs for children ages 3-5. They also want more private child care for children five and younger.

“We are starting to see residual fallout from the pandemic — families facing steeper economic barriers and children falling behind in kindergarten readiness,” Moira Weir, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, said in a statement. But: “We know when families are stable, our communities are stronger.”

This story was originally published by The Kentucky Lantern.

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist and Kentuckian. She has covered everything from crime to higher education. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since.
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