Grant to Help Parents Afford Child Care in Riley County

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas Children's Cabinet has announced that the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation will be awarded $400,000 in 2009 to assist families with child care needs. The funds will come from tobacco settlement dollars in the State's first Early Childhood Block Grant.

The Foundation submitted their proposal in cooperation with Raising Riley, Smart Start, the Riley County-Manhattan Health Department, Head Start, and Infant Toddler Services.

$11.1 million was available and the State received 36 applications totaling $35 million in applications. The Riley County project was one of 14 awardees.

A Greater Manhattan Community Foundation statement said, child care has reached levels of crisis concern in our community for families, child care centers and providers, and for employers. Environmental and economic pressures are making child care more expensive than many working families can afford.

This grant will partner with the community's existing Smart Start grant to extend assistance to parents who work or live in Riley County or Manhattan and utilize child care in that same area.

Up to one-third of the cost of child care will be paid for by the grant for families who qualify. In order to qualify, parents must work or be in school full time and have income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. The guidelines are set each July by the federal government; currently 200% of poverty annual income for a family of four is $42,400.

The Greater Manhattan Community Foundation is building an endowed fund to help finance this project into perpetuity. So far, the Foundation has received donations for this growing fund from Steel and Pipe Supply and Capitol Federal and has committed their own funds as well.

Currently the fund has approximately $65,000. The Early Childhood Block Grant will allow the project to begin without waiting for the completion of fundraising.

In addition to helping parents with the affordability of child care, the project will also complement existing community programs and efforts aimed at improving quality of child care, assuring that developmental delays are identified in young children, and provide parent education related to child care quality.

Applications for parents will be available online at www.raisingriley.com or at the Family and Child Resource Center at 2101 Claflin, beginning Monday, January 5. In order to offer these child care scholarships, child care centers and providers must participate in Smart Start.

"This grant will not answer all our community child care needs, but it will be a huge help for families struggling to pay for child care," said Lee Taylor, President of the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation. "We are happy to be able to provide this good news to the community."

For information about contributing to the Childcare Endowment at the Community Foundation, please visit the Foundation's website at www.manhattancf.org or call the office at (785) 587-8995.


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