Gov. Laura Kelly announces new, expanded resources for childcare in Kansas

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly
Posted at 12:38 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 13:38:55-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced two childcare resources Thursday for both Kansas workers and childcare providers.

The state will expand eligibility for the Hero Relief Child Care Assistance Program and implement a new program that provides grants to childcare providers in the state.

Under new guidelines, Kansas workers who average at least 20 hours per week and whose gross income is 250% or less of the federal poverty guidelines is now eligible to receive childcare assistance, Kelly's office announced.

A family of four that makes $5,485 or less per month before taxes, which is $65,820 annually, would be eligible. The Hero Relief program's website has a table outlining the new income limits based on household size.

The new guidelines also expanded the eligibility period from six months to 12 months.

The program was first implemented at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to help essential workers with childcare costs.

“Kansas has experienced a record amount of economic activity this year," Kell said in a statement. "In order to support our growing economy, Kansans in the workforce need reliable access to quality childcare,. Expanding the Hero Relief Program helps businesses and parents, and ensures children, our most precious resource, have opportunities to develop in nurturing environments.”

Kansas workers can check eligibility and apply online for the program, which is administered through the Department of Children and Familes.

Kelly also announced that the Child Care Sustainability Grant program, a $50-million program that will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $60,000 for family programs and large centers respectively, according to the press release.

The program, which is in partnership with Child Care Aware Kansas, will help childcare providers offset operating expenses. Grant applications already are being accepted and the application deadline is 5 p.m. on July 30.

The funds can be used for "normal operational expenses, additional expenses the child care program has due to meeting CDC guidance for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and other acitivities necessary to maintain or resume the operations of programs," according to the press release.

Child care facilities need to be in good standing with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment in order to apply.