Health and Family Services Cabinet
Governor Beshear Announces $4 Million in Stimulus Funding for Child Care; Funding will increase training resources for child care providers
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2009) – Noting his continued commitment to improving early childhood education and development, Gov. Steve Beshear has announced that more than $4 million in federal stimulus funds will provide additional resources to child care providers to help them meet the needs of infants and toddlers and children in after-school programs.
Money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) – also known as the federal stimulus act – will fund efforts by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).
Gov. Beshear said the one-time money will be used to provide resources to support both providers and parents. A significant portion of the funding -- $2 million – will support training opportunities for providers on infant/toddler development research and how to incorporate the research into their centers through age-appropriate activities.
About $1 million will fund distance-learning opportunities and support creation of an after school/out of school curriculum for child care providers. Use of distance learning makes training more accessible to providers throughout the state.
In addition, funds will be used to:
• Develop a comprehensive Web-based data system for processing and maintaining provider records;
• Support a partnership with Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky on the “Never Shake a Baby” initiative, which teaches parents and caregivers how to cope with the stress of caring for an infant;
• Promote to both parents and providers STARS for KIDS Now, a voluntary quality rating system for child care centers; and
• Purchase child booster car seats and work with the Department for Public Health to develop a plan for distribution. Legislation passed in the 2008 session of the General Assembly (SB 120) requires children under 7 who are between 40 and 50 inches in height to be secured in child booster seats.
“Child care is one of the fundamentals of the state’s economy. Without it, parents couldn’t work, seek employment, or receive an education or job training. It’s fitting that the stimulus money that is rebuilding America’s economy is helping families feel secure about their child care,” Gov. Beshear said.
Within CHFS, the Office of Inspector General’s Division of Regulated Child Care inspects and licenses child care providers and investigates complaints. The Department for Community Based Services’ Division of Child Care administers the Child Care Assistance Program to help families pay for child care, as well as the STARS for KIDS Now voluntary rating system for providers. The division also works with the state’s network of Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to promote quality child care and train providers.
“On average, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services subsidizes child care for more than 42,000 Kentucky children each day. Many Kentucky children spend their days in child care settings while their parents work to support their family,” Miller said. “The goal of this initiative is to enrich the child care experiences of those children by providing additional training resources to child care providers.”
In recognition of the significant role a child’s younger years play in future achievements; Gov. Beshear established an Early Childhood Development and Education Task Force in February 2009. In establishing the task force, the Governor said the role that child care providers and private early childhood education providers, both not-for-profit and for profit, play should be recognized, incorporated and valued in any recommendations the task force makes. The task force was also directed to examine the STARS program for child care programs and recommend ways to enhance its effectiveness to promote improved quality of child care programs and make it a more useful and effective tool for parents.
For more information about child care quality, log on to http://chfs.ky.gov/os/oig/drcc.htm. To learn more about child care subsidies and finding quality child care, log on to http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dcc/.
Log on to http://kentuckyatwork.ky.gov to learn how federal stimulus dollars are being spent in the Commonwealth.
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