TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced $160 million in grants available for child care providers in Kansas. The third round of Child Care Sustainability Grants will aid child care providers in meeting the costs of operating their businesses through the remaining impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As we grow the economy, these grants will provide the continued support our child care facilities need to stay open and ensure that Kansas families have access to safe, quality child care.” Governor Laura Kelly said. "This support will help our child care facilities, it will help Kansas parents, and it will help our economy.”
Qualifying child care providers are guaranteed nine months of payments ranging from $1,800 per month for family child care programs to $18,000 per month for large centers. In addition, the providers will be eligible for an additional five months of funding either in the same amount or more, depending on the utilization of the grants during the first nine months.
"When Covid-19 hit, we were so thankful that we were still able to be open and be there for our parents and the children who needed a safe and familiar place to go," said Kristele Blessings, Precious Blessings Development Center. "During that time, we as a small business took a hit when some of our parents weren't able to work due to the pandemic and we lost some of our expected income.
"These grants have afforded us the ability to provide child care in the safest and most precautious way for our staff, children, and parents," she continued.
Precious Blessings Development Center received $20,000 in grants from the first two cycles. It is located in Topeka.
"As their businesses continue to recover from drop in classroom sizes, delayed capital improvements, and unexpected expenses for sanitization and personal protection equipment, child care providers can use the grant dollars how they need it most," Department of Children and Families Secretary Laura Howard said. "These grants offer great flexibility to fulfill the needs of the providers."
The grant program will be administered by Child Care Aware of Kansas. The grant application is available starting March 1 at www.ks.childcareaware.org. Applications are accepted until Nov. 30, 2022. Grant dollars may be used for personnel costs, rent/mortgage, utilities, personal protective equipment, goods or services, purchases of or updates to equipment and supplies, and mental health supports.
"Financial support from these grants represent an unprecedented investment in the stabilization of our existing child care infrastructure, ensuring that parents have a safe, nurturing environment for their young children," said Kelly Davydov, Executive Director of Child Care Aware of Kansas. "These funds are critical to ensuring that child care businesses are able to keep paying staff, even when enrollment fluctuates due to illness. They also allow child care programs to absorb the increased cost of essential supplies, like food and personal protective equipment."
To be considered for funding, newly licensed or established child care programs must maintain an active permanent license with Kansas Department of Health and Environment, whether they remain open or temporarily closed. Funds may be used for any normal operational expenses, additional expenses the child care program has due to meeting CDC guidance for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, and other activities necessary to maintain or resume the operation of programs.
Qualifying child care providers in Kansas are encouraged to apply at www.ks.childcareaware.org.
Round 1 and 2 of the Child Care Sustainability Grants provided $97 million in support to Kansas child care providers. Child Care Aware of Kansas estimates that nearly 211,000 children were impacted by the grants.
Round no. 1: $49.5 million
Round no. 2: $47.5 million