FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) is now accepting new applications for its Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) through the Child Care Council (3C’s) of Kentucky, a nonprofit offering access to affordable, quality care and education.
DCBS, an agency of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, this week reopened CCAP after closing it to new applicants in April 2013 because of a budget shortfall in the department’s fiscal year 2014 budget.
In April 2013, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) was forced to lower the income eligibility for recipients from 150 percent to 100 percent Federal Poverty Level (FPL) as a result of an $86.6 million shortfall in the fiscal year 14 budget of DCBS.
In his recommended budget to the 2014 General Assembly, Gov. Beshear proposed full funding to restore the program to 150 percent of FPL for both years of the upcoming biennium, which would have allowed increased eligibility to start July 1, 2014.
The General Assembly, however, reduced the funding for fiscal year 2015, which began July 1, from $58.1 million to $38.6 million, leaving the state no option other than to delay accepting new applications.
In June, Gov. Steve Beshear directed an increase of funding for the program, opening the assistance to families who have not been eligible for services for more than a year.
Beginning this week, CCAP assistance is restored for fiscal year 2015 to 140 percent of the FPL, and will be available to 150 percent of FPL beginning July 1, 2015.
In May 2014, the program served approximately 12,000 children in 6,000 families. By increasing eligibility to 140 percent FPL, the program is expected to serve approximately 31,000 children in 17,000 families each month by the end of fiscal year 2015.
CCAP provides access to quality child care for eligible Kentucky parents and legal guardians who work or attend education and training programs.
Gov. Beshear said the restoration of funds is part of his pledge to support Kentucky families despite ongoing budget cuts and shortfalls.
“Now, these parents won’t have to make a choice between child care and a job or job training,” Gov. Beshear said. “And their children will benefit from the quality services that will help their early development.”
DCBS Commissioner Teresa James said her staff and partners are ready to help parents and caregivers who have questions about the CCAP application process.
“We want to serve as many families as we can to the fullest extent we can with this funding,” she said. “CCAP is good for parents, it’s good for local economies, and it is good for child safety and well-being.”
DCBS’ Division of Child Care works with the 3C’s to provide eligibility to families in all 120 Kentucky counties.
“CCAP restoration is a major win for thousands of Kentucky kids,” said Terry Brooks, executive director of the Kentucky Youth Advocates. “Moreover, it is a relevant economic jump start for The Commonwealth’s working families and the local economies in every county across this state.”
Parents must meet eligibility requirements – including income, work participation and residency, to qualify.
Parents must submit an application, which should include the applicant’s signature and will be screened for eligibility, then schedule a later meeting with DCBS staff or 3C’s staff to verify financial and other information.
Parents can begin the CCAP application process in several ways:
· The fastest and easiest way is to apply online at http://chfs.ky.gov/ccap from any home or public computer (such as a library computer). Parents who submit information this way will be contacted with further instructions as quickly as possible, but within no more than 10 business days.
· They can complete and submit an “intent to apply” form, available online. This method does not complete application, but it protects the application date and eliminates an initial office visit. Parents who submit information this way will be contacted with further instructions as quickly as possible, but within no more than 10 business days. “Intent to apply” forms may be submitted in person, by fax or by mail.
· They can apply in person.
Staff from 3C’s is available to take applications in most DCBS county offices, but is housed at separate locations in some counties. In Kenton County, staff is accepting applications at the 4C for Children office at 525 W. 5th St., Covington. Find an office locator search directory for CCAP assistance online at http://childcarecouncilofky.com/local-office-search/.
All information about CCAP eligibility and the application process and downloadable applications are online at childcarecouncilofky.com. Or find out more by calling the Child Care Council at 1-800-809-7076. In Lexington, call 859-254-9176.
Learn more about the Division of Child Care online at chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dcc.