Child care services grow: Board member questions affordability of care

By Danielle Kaye

Construction began on a child care center Aug. 15 that will provide services to UK faculty, staff and Lexington residents.

The center will be next to the Arboretum off of Alumni Drive.

Last November, in a Kentucky Medical Services Foundation Board meeting special session, a proposal for the creation of a Child Development Center on UK’s campus was approved.

UK’s Board of Trustees approved the creation of the center on Dec. 7, 2010, to be privately funded.

The child care center will offer daily services to 166 children in the Lexington area, said Stella Crutcher, executive director of the current Child Development Center of the Bluegrass.

UK medical center spokeswoman Kristi Lopez said the exact breakdown of spots for children at the center has yet to be determined.

“However,” she said, “slots will be allocated for children of UK faculty and staff.”

When the Board voted on the creation of the center, not all members were in favor. Staff representative Sheila Brothers was one of those members.

Brothers, who is also a member of the University Senate Council, said she voted against the proposal because child care would be offered at market price, without a discount to UK staff, and that child care opportunities would not be offered to all of UK staff.

The market rate child care would not be helpful to UK employees, she said.

“Finding child care isn’t the problem; it’s finding affordable child care that’s a challenge,” she said.

The current child care center provides care to 53 children, ages 13 months to 5 years, “and we see another 50 children for outpatient and community-based therapy,” Crutcher said. “In each of the preschool classrooms, 40 percent of the children have some type of special need.”

The center has been providing child services since 1958 aiming to help children, with and without disabilities, reach their full potential, according to the center’s website.

The center provides services that include speech, physical and occupation therapy for children with special needs. The also provide outpatient therapy services.

“The new, larger center will allow us to offer quality preschool and early intervention programs to more children in the community and to expand services for children with disabilities,” Crutcher said. “University of Kentucky staff and families will have another option for quality, convenient child care, which is such a huge need for today’s working families.”

The current estimated completion date for the center is July 27, 2012.