Louisville’s Child Care Zoning Laws Are Hurting Parents — The City Wants To Change That

Improving access to child care is a pressing problem throughout the country, which was made worse by the pandemic, and the Louisville Metro Government will review zoning regulations and hold a series of open houses to address possible solutions.

The city government can’t regulate how child care businesses operate, because that responsibility falls to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Division of Child Care, but Louisville Metro can establish where child care businesses operate through zoning.

Right now, a child care business with eight or more children is restricted to commercial zones. This forces some parents to travel far from their homes and workplaces to access child care. Mayor Greg Fischer said the regulations, plus the pandemic, has put a strain on parents — especially Black and minority parents. 

“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,” Fischer said in a statement.

Council member Cassie Chambers Armstrong, D-8, who supports reforming zoning regulations, said that changes need to be made. 

“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,” Armstrong said in a statement. “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.”

The city’s Planning and Design Services department will host a virtual “open house” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5. You can find more info here. 

The remaining four open houses will take place in person at various locations around the city — all of which are outdoors. Here is the schedule.

Saturday, Oct. 9: Petersburg Park, 5008 E. Indian Trail, 10 a.m.-noon

Sunday, Oct. 10: California Park, 1104 S. 16th St., 1-3 p.m. 

Tuesday, Oct. 12: Iroquois Park, 5216 New Cut Road, 4-6 p.m. 

Thursday, Oct. 14: Hounz Lane Park, 2300 Hounz Lane, 4-6 p.m. 

If you’re unable to attend but want to voice your opinion, there is a comment form on the city’s website, or you can call Planning and Design Services at 574-5860 or email: [email protected]

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