Quick Takes

Kentuckians support more public spending for child care, survey finds

By: - August 17, 2023 3:09 pm

More than 60% of both parents and voters said that child care in Kentucky was neither affordable nor plentiful enough. (Getty Images)

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.”


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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.