TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that her administration is giving a total of $53 million to eligible child care staff at licensed facilities as a reward for their incredibly essential, hard work. The funds will be made available through Child Care Workforce Appreciation Bonuses that will soon be directly distributed to approximately 22,650 early childhood care staff members across Kansas. Individual bonus amounts will range from $750 to $2,500 per person.
“Early childhood development is the smartest investment a community can make. Early childhood education programs benefit our kids in the long-term, both in and out of the classroom, and they make it possible for parents to enter and participate in the workforce,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “That’s exactly why we’re making a total of $53 million available to nearly 23,000 child care providers throughout Kansas: We want to show our gratitude for all they do every single day.”
Eligible child care providers must be regularly working in a paid position at a licensed facility and have a minimum of six months continuous employment at their current employer or six months of combined continuous employment with a licensed provider. Home-based and relative providers may also qualify for the bonus program. There is also an opportunity for those who have worked less than six months at a licensed facility to receive a bonus. The Appreciation Bonus is a one-time payment that will begin in mid-to-late July and is funded through federal Child Care Development Funds.
Licensed facilities include child care centers, including all Head Start programs and preschools; school age programs; day care homes; and DCF relative providers.
“Working in child care is a calling, one that inspires and educates the minds of young Kansans, and plays an important role in strengthening Kansas families,” said Laura Howard, Secretary of Kansas Department for Children and Families. “We cannot say it enough — Thank you child care workers for everything you do for Kansas children!”
Child Care Aware of Kansas (CCAKS) will implement the program on behalf of the Kansas Department for Children and Families and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. All eligible child care workers will receive a letter in July outlining the process to accept the bonus and will have until Nov. 18 to act. CCAKS will offer educational webinars about the process as well. Learn more at www.ks.childcareaware.org.
“Child care professionals are essential to a thriving Kansas economy, providing high-quality early care and education to young children while ensuring parents are able to work,” said Kelly Davydov, Executive Director of Child Care Aware of Kansas. “We’re grateful for their service to young children and families.”
The Child Care Workforce Appreciation Bonus program is one more way the Kelly Administration has supported child care providers to create real, sustainable change in child care in Kansas.
In total, the Kelly Administration has invested more than $272 million to support child care providers, including three rounds of Child Care Sustainability Grants to aid child care providers to meet the costs of operating their businesses through the remaining impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The third round of Child Care Sustainability Grants announced in March made more than $160 million available for child care businesses to use toward payroll expenses, costs of operations, and potential revenue losses. Rounds one and two of the Sustainability grants provided nearly $100 million in support to ensure child care centers and home-based providers were able to remain open.
HERO Relief Provider Funding assisted all open child care providers and related providers with funding supports during the immediate impact of COVID-19. More than $11 million was awarded to providers to assist with unexpected expenses related to the pandemic.
Governor Kelly also wrote a letter to licensed child care providers thanking them for their work and informing them of how to qualify for the bonus award. The letter is available here.