Policy changes designed to help parents maintain employment
In a move to help Kansans find work and stay employed, Governor Laura Kelly today announced a new Kansas Department for Children and Families initiative that will expand access to child care assistance for Kansas families.
“Having access to quality child care is essential for parents to maintain employment,” Kelly said. “Those with lower incomes often struggle to afford quality child care. By expanding access to the program, more Kansas families can sustain employment or participate in meaningful training programs.”
DCF is making several policy changes to the program that will go into effect July 1. They include:
- Reducing the minimum work hours per week to be eligible from 28 to 20, which will expand child-care access to more working parents.
- Expanding the program to participants of the GOALS employment and training program allowing families to access child-care assistance for job search activities. GOALS is specifically for parents who participate in the state’s food assistance program.
- Using Child Care Development Funds (CCDF) to pay child-care costs for foster children. This new program will provide foster parents the added convenience of using an EBT card to pay for child care.
“We know that child-care costs can be an obstacle to employment for many of our low-income families,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “In Topeka for example, affordable child care is 21 percent of a family’s income for those at the top of the eligibility threshold (185% of federal poverty level). Our expectation is that families will actually be able to increase their earnings while having peace of mind knowing their children are being cared for in healthy environments.”
DCF estimates more than 3,000 Kansas children will benefit from these policy changes. The agency estimates spending more than $9 million in FY 2020 and nearly $14 million in FY2021 based on current caseload data.
“Helping our fellow Kansans find work, stay employed and receive a quality education are universal values,” Kelly said. “This is a first step in repairing the safety net that was pulled from vulnerable Kansans during the previous eight years.”