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Kansas Children’s Cabinet makes $1.7 million available in grants

(AP)
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 3:24 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund is now accepting applications for $1.7 million in grants.

The Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund says it is accepting applications from communities in Kansas and early childhood care and education providers for $1.7 million in quality enhancement grants.

According to the Cabinet, the All in for Kansas Kids Quality Subgrants are meant to help communities, service providers and other early childhood stakeholders address needs and gaps through locally-driven ideas and approaches.

The organization said successful grantees will highlight unique challenges in their communities, try and test new approaches and solutions and then share lessons learned.

“Kansans know the needs in their own communities and have great ideas for how to address them,” says Amy Meek, early childhood director for the Children’s Cabinet. “The goal of these grants is to provide the resources needed to shape and test solutions that help children and families thrive. We are excited to see what applicants come up with, and how these innovative solutions can be scaled to transform the early childhood system across the state so that all Kansas children and families benefit.”

According to the Kansas Children’s Cabinet, the grants will be awarded in the following five areas:

Grants will be awarded in five areas:

  • Child Care Access. The Cabinet said the goal of these grants is to increase availability of high-quality child care for target populations, such as infants and toddlers, families with low-income, migrant families, children with special health care needs, children experiencing homelessness and children involved with foster care.
  • Rural Child Care. According to the Cabinet, these grants will focus on increasing access to and availability of child care in rural areas by breaking down barriers that prevent rural child care providers from starting and succeeding, and residents of rural areas from entering and remaining in the early childhood care and education workforce.
  • Connect Families to Services. The Cabinet said these grants are meant to enhance infrastructure, increase collaboration and outreach and develop awareness campaigns helping connect families to community services.
  • Kindergarten Readiness. According to the Cabinet, the goal of these grants is to improve school district ratings for kindergarten readiness in the Kansas Can Star Recognition program, recognizing communities that offer quality, inclusive opportunities to young children and their families so each student enters school prepared for success.
  • Improving Quality of Care. The Cabinet said these grants are focused on improving the quality of care and education environments for Kansas children and families, which includes addressing a child’s social-emotional learning, mental and behavioral health needs and the added stressors of COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has presented enormous challenges for the early childhood care and education system, but these quality enhancement grants provide an opportunity for communities across Kansas to reimagine what normal looks like,” continues Melissa Rooker, executive director of the Children’s Cabinet. “With our All in for Kansas Kids Strategic Plan as a guide, we can work together to build a more resilient system that will benefit all Kansas children and families.”

According to the Kansas Children’s Cabinet applications are due by Oct. 19, 2020.

For more information on the grants and to apply, click here.

The organization said the subgrants are funded through the federal Preschool Development Birth Through Five Renewal Grant awarded to Kansas in April of 2020 and are responses to the 2019 All in for Kansas Kids Needs Assessment. It said the rigorous and broad-reaching study of the early childhood care and education system in the state showed gaps in access, availability and quality of child care across the state.

Copyright 2020 WIBW. All rights reserved.

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