Advocates for Kentucky children on Thursday called for state leaders to provide funds and stave off recently announced cuts to program that provide assistance for child care costs and to family members who take in young relatives.
The calls were made Thursday at the ninth annual Children Advocacy Day rally, which organizers estimated more than 1,000 people joined. Because of the crowd's size, the rally was moved from the Capitol Rotunda to outside.
Last week, the Department for Community Based Services announced deep cuts to Kentucky's Kinship Care program and the Child Care Assistance Program. The cuts are expected to keep thousands of children of low-income parents from being able to afford day care while the parents work or go to school.
The first path to restoring the funding is with Gov. Steve Beshear, Brooks says.
"No. 1, we believe the governor has an obligation to do whatever he can do to find discretionary money to make sure the cuts the Cabinet announced last week don't happen," said Terry Brooks, director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.
If the governor can't find the funding, Brooks said, state legislators should step in.
"Then we expect our lawmakers to take the step to re-open the budget," he said.
Brooks also encouraged supporters to back bills that would crack down on human trafficking, create a statewide smoking ban and create a child fatality review panel.