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Child care providers, parents and lawmakers look for permanent fix to growing crisis

“We need to take our American rescue plan dollars and invest at least $20 million into our child care sector.”--Councilwoman Cassie Armstrong

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — “I'm so grateful that you all are looking into this," said Cassie Chambers Armstrong, Louisville Metro Council Representative for District 8, in response to our investigation into child care access.   

Armstrong said our investigation into the scarcity of child care exposes a growing crisis. She’s lived through that crisis. 

“I'm the only council member that has children actually in childcare right now," said Armstrong. 

It took hard work to get them that care. Many centers have had up to 2-year-long waitlists. 

“There just weren't the spots available," she said. 

A WHAS11 FOCUS investigation found some areas of our city have as few as around 15 child care spots per 100 children, according to the Greater Louisville Project based on the Kentucky Department of Child Care as of September 13.

Our investigation found that around the state, centers have been steadily closing their doors.

“Thank you for covering it," said Armstrong.

But there’s a long road ahead

“What needs to change at the state and local level to help the childcare industry?,” asked FOCUS investigative reporter Paula Vasan.

“We need to take our American rescue plan dollars and invest at least $20 million into our child care sector,” Armstrong said.

Among her biggest priorities to support child care workers, raise wages, offer vouchers to help them care for their own kids, pay for ongoing training and certification, and provide technology and business training. 

“...to make sure we have enough people that we can keep our childcare centers open," she said. 

Right now, the child care industry is short about 600 workers, which translates to more than 6,500 slots unavailable to families. 

To increase child care access, the city is considering changes to its current zoning laws that would expand where child care businesses can operate. It would open more slots for kids who need care. A spokeswoman for the city says these changes could be a reality by early next year. 

Planning Commission meeting

Louisville Metro’s Planning Commission will be meeting on Thursday, November 18, 2021, at 1 pm to talk about proposed changes to child care zoning restrictions.

To join this event online, go to here. (Event number: 2301 753 0393, Event Password: PC111821)

If you cannot participate online, you can also participate by phone by calling 415-655-0001

Or you can attend in-person at 514 W Liberty St, Louisville, KY 40202.

►Have a story tip? Contact the FOCUS Investigative team at FOCUS@whas11.com

►Contact reporter Paula Vasan at pvasan@whas11.com on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram