Louisville Metro begins review of zoning regulations with goal of providing greater access to childcare
Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Planning and Design Services is hosting a series of open houses during the first two weeks of October to help the city better understand residents’ childcare needs and identify barriers to accessing quality care.
Louisville Metro does not regulate how childcare businesses operate; that’s the job of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Division of Child Care. But the city’s Land Development Code does dictate where childcare providers can operate.
Currently, a childcare provider caring for eight or more children is restricted to commercial and office zones – a regulation that can result in parents having to travel far from work or home to access childcare. At the same time, childcare providers that may be conveniently located in residential areas cannot fulfill the demand for childcare because of occupancy restrictions.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some childcare providers have shut their doors or reduced their capacities, leading to even greater demand for fewer places. Even before the pandemic, Black and minority parents, particularly single parents and women of color, were more likely to have trouble finding childcare.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the struggle working parents face to find stable, affordable childcare, forcing some to take reduced hours or leave the workforce altogether, and as we’ve seen with health, violence and other issues, lack of access to childcare disproportionately affects our Black and minority residents,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.
Childcare is a workforce issue that should concern both residents and employers, the Mayor stated.
“We continue to see ‘Now Hiring’ signs in businesses’ windows, but some workers have yet to return to the workforce. Childcare remains a significant factor in that decision. By reviewing the current restrictions around where childcare providers can operate, we hope to expand access to childcare and bring people back to the workforce.”
Councilwoman Cassie Chambers Armstrong, D-8, has expressed her support for reforming zoning regulations related to childcare.
"We need transformational change in Louisville's childcare industry. We know that families struggle to find care, and that one out of four women who are unemployed cannot return to work because they cannot find affordable childcare,” Councilwoman Chambers Armstrong said. “I look forward to working with Planning and Design to understand how zoning can be a tool to promoting greater, more equitable access to childcare."
Planning and Design Services staff will host a virtual open house on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 7 p.m. A link to the Cisco WebEx Video Teleconferencing and information about how to join via computer and phone are available at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/planning-design/changes-childcare-regulations.
The remaining four open houses be in-person events held outdoors around the city at the dates, times, and locations listed below. Face coverings are recommended.
- Saturday, October 9, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Petersburg Park, 5008 E. Indian Trail
- Sunday, October 10, from 1 to 3 p.m. at California Park, 1104 S. 16th St.
- Tuesday, October 12, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Iroquois Park, 5216 New Cut Road
- Thursday, October 14, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hounz Lane Park, 2300 Hounz Lane
Learn more about the zoning regulation review at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/planning-design/changes-childcare-regulations.
Anyone with child safety concerns or with questions about what regulations and protocols childcare operators must follow should contact the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Division of Child Care at (502) 564-2524 or visit the division’s website at https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dcbs/dcc/Pages/default.aspx.