LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It was 45 years ago the first children attended Life Church Child Care.
They operated then under a different name but with the same principals of helping families.
For years, the day care near East Pages Lane in southwest Louisville has been caring for generations of children.
The day care closed their doors last week because they say close to half of their kids could no longer afford to come without state assistance.
“I have been here for so long. I wasn’t quite sure how I would do without being here. The first week was really sad,” former child care director Mary Ann Bibby said.
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“You had to come in the day before Thanksgiving and say goodbye to them and it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do,” Life Church pastor Patrick Bissig said.
$58 million was cut earlier this year from the Department of Community Based Services and their child care assistance program.
The agency stopped taking applications for new families to enter the program and some parents who once qualified don’t anymore.
“[I feel] Lost, you know. I felt like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place whether to work to take care of my kids on my own. I’m a single mother of 5 children. I want to work. I don’t want to sit at home and just collect benefits,” day care user Sara Branch said.
A 15 cents per-hour raise at Sara Branch’s job kicked her out of the program, putting her about the wage requirements. Her children had to leave Life Church.
“I’m trying to work but I am limited in what I can do right now because of child care,” she added.
The budget cut is designed to help curb an $86 million shortfall in the agency.
To qualify for the program, parents must now be 150 percent below the poverty level instead of 100 percent.
Day care directors and parents plan to rally to restore funds in Frankfort in the upcoming legislative session in January.