Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!

Innovation Name Innovation Type Innovation Subtype Features at a Glance Strategy Summary
Child Development Specialist Youth Apprenticeship Workforce Apprenticeships

Part of Federal Registered Apprenticeship Program

In 2000, House Bill 706 allocated 25% of the Kentucky Tobacco Settlement Fund to support early childhood programs. Kentucky provides three apprenticeship options in early childhood education: the Child Development Specialist Youth Apprenticeship, Early Childhood Instructor Apprenticeship, and Early Childhood Program Administrator/Director Apprenticeship. Apprentices in these programs receive a national journey worker credential, graduated pay raises, and bonuses while working in a high-quality early care and education program. Employers do not have to bear any training costs, as progressive wage increases, mentor stipends, and milestone achievements are all covered by the apprenticeship program. High school juniors and seniors are eligible for the Youth Apprenticeship. Students enrolled in a registered Apprenticeship Program can also earn 9-12 college credit hours in an Early Childhood Program through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The majority of Youth Apprentices graduate with a Child Development Assistant certification.

Learn more: Kentucky Career Center


Kentucky Governor's Office of Early Childhood. (n.d.). Growing the Early Childhood Workforce: Apprenticeships.

Kentucky Governor's Office of Early Childhood. (n.d.). Growing the Early Childhood Workforce: Youth Apprenticeships.

Kentucky Governor's Office of Early Childhood. (n.d.). Leadership.

Kentucky Data Collaborative and Kentucky Longitudinal Data System Infrastructure Systems Data Systems

P-20 Longitudinal Data System

Created in 2012, the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) maintains the Kentucky Longitudinal Data System (KLDS), a statewide longitudinal data system that includes data on kindergarten readiness, birth statistics, and early learning programs’ enrollments/ratings. The KLDS functions as a data warehouse for data from multiple agencies, including Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The warehouse links and merges demographic, program, and individual level-data from early learning services through workforce for evaluation, research, monitoring, and public information purposes. The individual data is deidentified with a unique identifier. Data is accessible via request with a data-sharing agreement required for all deidentified individual level data.

KYSTATS, which builds upon the work of the state’s P-20 Data Collaborative, was given authority to maintain the KLDS through KRS151B.132. KYSTATS is funded through state appropriations, federal Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grants, other grants, and user fees.

Learn More: Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) History
Kentucky Tobacco Settlement Fund Dedicated Funding Streams Tobacco Master Settlement

In 2021, Tobacco Master Settlement funds generated $7.4 million to support the state early childhood office

Since 1998, Kentucky has allocated 25% of funds from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement to early childhood care and education programs. In 2021, the annual revenue directed towards the state early childhood office was $7.4 million.

Learn More: An unexpected windfall for early childhood education
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Demographics Link copied!

State population

4,512,310 Source U.S. Census, 2022

Rural %

41.3% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Urban %

58.7% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Number of children age 0-4

265,121 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty

47% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Median family income among households with children

$69,200.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Unemployment rate

4% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022

Unemployment rate of parents

4% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force

64% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

34% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

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Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Race and Ethnicity

  • American Indian and Alaska Native (0.49%)
  • Asian (2%)
  • Black or African American (9%)
  • Hispanic or Latino (7%)
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (0.49%)
  • Two or More Races (5%)
  • White, not Hispanic or Latino (77%)
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Political Landscape Link copied!

Source: Ballotpedia 2023

Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

Public pre-K program name

Kentucky Preschool Program (KPP) Source: NIEER 2023

Universal or targeted pre-K policy

Targeted Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

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Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (6%)
  • 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (11%)
  • Other/none (83%)
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Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (25%)
  • 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (9%)
  • Other/none (66%)
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Workforce Link copied!

2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020


  • Child care workers
  • Preschool teachers
  • Preschool or child care center directors
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Funding Source Link copied!

Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022

Funding source

  • Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($182.7)
  • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($149.6)
  • CCDBG State Match ($6.3)
  • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($1000.0)
  • State-Funded Pre-K ($103.4)
  • MIECHV ($6.8)
  • IDEA Part C ($9.1)
  • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($15.8)
  • TANF Early Learning and Care Expenditures ($32.7)
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Funding acronyms: CCDBG: Child Care and Development Block Grant; CARES Act: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; CRRSE Act: Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations; ARPA: American Rescue Plan Act; CCDF: Child Care and Development Fund; MIECHV: Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The COVID Funding Cliff

All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including more than 41,000 children in Kentucky.