March 17, 2022 8:16pm
Greater Louisville Inc., Ready for K Alliance celebrate passage of ordinance to expand childcare capacity
Louisville, Ky. (March 17, 2022) – Following more than a year of acute workforce challenges due to reduced child care options, Greater Louisville Inc. and the Ready for K Alliance celebrated Louisville Metro Council unanimously passing an ordinance that will increase child care capacity through changes to the city’s land development code.
The ordinance, co-sponsored by Councilwoman Cassie Chambers Armstrong and Councilman Jecorey Arthur, will add flexibility to the city’s child care zoning laws, which will allow for expanded capacity in Family Child Care Homes and ease restrictions on where child care centers can be located. Previously, child care centers could not open in single family residential areas, which make up 60 percent of land in Jefferson County.
“Access to reliable and affordable child care is one of the largest barriers to work in our region,” said Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, president and CEO of GLI. “Currently, there is extremely limited capacity in our region’s child care centers, and increased expenses associated with the pandemic are furthering restricting access. We applaud Metro Council for generating forward-thinking steps to help get Louisvillians back to work and provide more child care options for families.”
The ordinance allows the opportunity for child care programs to serve families closer to where they work as well as access options for higher quality facilities. Studies show that the child care shortage impacts neighborhoods differently, with South and West Louisville having as few as 15 program spots per 100 neighborhood children.
“The child care industry faces so many barriers to making affordable, accessible, high quality child care available to all of the families who need it,” said Cori Gadansky, Executive Director of Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C). “4-C and the Ready for K Alliance thank Metro Council for taking a critical step to reducing the burdens providers face when trying to open or expand their child care programs. We look forward to continuing to work with Metro Council on the policies and investments needed to increase child care options across the community and better meet the needs of families with young children.”
Over the past 10 years, Kentucky’s child care capacity has decreased by 46 percent according to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, and Jefferson County has faced a nine percent reduction in its number of child care programs in the past two years alone. Since the pandemic, 45 percent of Kentucky parents have had to quit, not take, or change their jobs, due to lack of childcare.
“As a mom of two young kids, I know firsthand how important access to childcare is. It’s been an honor to work with so many great partners to take a significant step toward making sure that all families have access to high-quality, affordable childcare,” said Councilwoman Chambers Armstrong.