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Northern Kentucky Early Childhood Advocates Take Message to Frankfort in Support of Bill

It was Live United Day in Frankfort on Tuesday, where the United Way and its supporters were on hand to back a bill that passed in the House of Representatives which would initiate quality-based ratings for early childcare and education programs if passed in the Senate.

“The local United Ways across the Commonwealth really have a network of resources, between staff, volunteers and donors that provide awareness and it puts forth some issues that we collectively need to get done. So that was the intent behind this day. I think it was successful,” Leisha Lyman, director of the Northern Kentucky United Way, said.

Brent Cooper, President of Covington-based C-Forward, Co-Chair of Read On, and Chair of United Way Northern Kentucky was in Frankfort and was impressed with the consistency of the message at the event. "The most compelling thing, I thought, was every single speaker talked about the importance of early childhood education, every single one,” he said. “Quality day care and early childhood education is key to our long-term economic growth."

Also present was Children, Inc. Director of Advocacy Mike Hammons, who explained the importance of the gathering. “I think when you bring boards and staff and supporters together, they affirm one another, but they also demonstrate the broad support of these measures,” Hammons said.

Under the bill, childcare, Head Start programs, and public preschool would all be rated by the state. The bill goes next to the Senate.

“It would allow parents to know in advance the quality of the program that they're sending their child to,” Hammons said about the rating system. He then explained that the group also opposed a separate bill that would expand any licensing extension for some limited childcare providers.

Speakers on for Live United Day include Senator Mike Wilson (R-Bowling Green) who chairs the Senate's Education Committee; House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonburg), Commissioner Teresa James of the Department of Community Based Services, and Terry Nolan, the executive director of the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Education.

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor

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