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In a recent report from the National Poverty Center on Child Care subsidies and the Transition from Welfare to Work the results indicated work disruption of several kinds that were due to a child care problem reported by parents.  Mothers facing lower child care costs are more likely to be employed, particularly low-income or single mothers.  Low-income mothers also report being more likely to work when care is most available and when they are most satisfied with the quality of care. Problems with child care can lead single mothers to leave jobs and can also adversely affect attendance, work hours and career advancement.  Parents interviewed were from two groups.  One who received subsidized child care and the other who did not.  The findings indicated that the child care related problems persisted regardless of a subsidy receipt.  The study was conducted in Michigan.  A detailed report is available online at the National Poverty Center Working Paper Series index at: http://www.npc.umich.edu/publications/working_papers/

Given the above findings, The Kentucky Association for Community Action (KACA) has gathered information about agencies throughout the country with innovative and successful strategies that have helped low- income families’ access affordable and reliable child care.

In Owensboro, Kentucky the Audubon Area Community Services, Inc. provides a comprehensive Head Start program in a sixteen county area. Owensboro is an industrial and cultural hub in western Kentucky along the southern banks of the Ohio River.  The cost of living in Owensboro is low compared to most metropolitan areas.  Housing, utilities and groceries are all below the national average.  It is the third largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

In 1998 one of the agencies strategic plans was to expand their current Head Start program and reach out to the families in need of child care services.  This was accomplished through the expansion of the existing Head Start program by expanding it to a full day, full year program.  Head Start is a comprehensive program designed to foster development of children from low-income families.  In 2003, 3,262 children in 56 centers in 16 counties were served.  

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