“We need to make sure our child care industry is strong, is vibrant, and I want to highlight and emphasize that,” Thomas said. According to Sara Hall, the Kentucky state manager for Save the Children Action Network, half of Kentuckians live in an area without enough child care.
Hall said these areas, referred to as childcare deserts, are major issues that need to be addressed immediately.
“Our kids need this now and so really need everybody to join us and call their lawmakers, email them, get them down here for a visit,” Hall said. “Let them know the struggles that our parents are facing and make sure that they can get back in the workforce and know that their children are going to be safe.”
A reason for these childcare deserts that Hall says is another issue that needs to be addressed is the lack of pay providers receive.
According to Hall, the average annual salary for childcare providers is $22,000. “That’s just not a livable wage,” Hall said. “Many of them can’t afford their own child care.” Hall’s goal is to ensure providers have the support where they can get the training they need and that the industry is not losing employees.
Thomas says he hopes to see changes in regulation that encourages people to enter the childcare workforce which will help set up the next generation for success.
“My responsibility as a law maker is to make sure that we provide all kind of resources and a healthy environment to raise properly the next generation.”
He also commends the work of Save the Children, saying they play a major role in ensuring services have a safe, comfortable and healthy condition.
For more information on Save the Children Action Network, you can check out their website here.