FRANKFORT — Only 12 people attended the first Child Advocacy Day at the state Capitol nine years ago.
On Thursday, organizers estimated that nearly 900 advocates and children attended this year's rally, urging lawmakers to pass key pieces of legislation ranging from a statewide ban on smoking in public places to a measure that would increase penalties for human trafficking.
Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, urged attendees to talk with legislators about recently announced cuts to the state's child-care assistance and kinship care programs.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced last week that a program that helps low-income families pay for child care will be frozen in April and that income requirements will become more stringent in July. That means more than 8,700 families will probably lose child-care assistance money.
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The cabinet also announced that on July 1, relatives who care for children who were removed from homes because of abuse and neglect will no longer receive $300 monthly stipends. Relatives who already receive the subsidy will continue to get it.