DCF Announces Grants for Family Resource Centers
As part of the continued effort to prevent the need for families to have formal contact with DCF, the agency is awarding grants to 10 Kansas communities to assist in the creation of Family Resource Centers.
“If we can help build the skills necessary for families to succeed, we can prevent the need for families to have contact with DCF, especially the child welfare system,” Secretary Laura Howard said. “These centers will focus on parent resilience, social connections and important parent and child development skills which we believe will result in fewer youth in the foster care system.”
The centers will serve as community hubs with sole purpose of supporting families in their own neighborhoods. Parents will have easier access to programs and services like job skills training, early childhood programs and nutrition services.
DCF awarded grants to:
|Agency||Counties Served||Award Amount|
|Community Children’s Center||Douglas County||$208,300|
|Kansas Family Advisory Network SE||Allen, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Crawford, Labette, Linn, Montgomery, Neosho, Osage, and Wilson Counties||$208,300|
|Kansas Family Advisory Network SW||Barton, Comanche, Edwards, Finney, Ford, Gray, Greeley, Harvey, Lyon, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Pawnee, Reno, Rice, Seward, and Stafford Counties||$208,300|
|Kansas Children’s Service League||Sedgwick County||$208,333|
|KU Project Eagle||Wyandotte County||$208,095|
|Live Well NWKS||Cheyenne, Rawlins, Decatur, Norton, Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, Graham, Wallace, Logan, Gove, and Trego Counties||$208,300|
|Pony Express||Marshall and Washington Counties||$197,443|
|Turner USD 202||Wyandotte County; USD 202||$84,000|
|Urban League of Kansas||67214 zip code in Sedgwick County||$124,999|
|USD 252 Lyon Co.||Lyon County communities of Neosho Rapids, Harford and Olpe||$106,142|
||| Total awarded: $1,762,212|
DCF partners with the Kansas Children’s Service League (KCSL) to administer the Family Resource Center network. KCSL will work with the communities to design and create their center. As the lead operator of the Parent Helpline, 1-800-Children, KCSL offers important insights on parenting and caregiver resources that will help ensure the success of each Family Resource Center.
Family Resource Centers are designed for all families with services at no or low cost for participants.
Low-Income Energy Assistance Program to Continue Heating Homes this Winter
|Persons Living at the Address||Maximum Gross Monthly Income|
|||*Add $590 for each additional person|
Attention Providers! ECE Resources Kansas now available
Need help running your child care business? Looking for resources to enhance classroom learning? Want to know how to communicate with families? Join ECE Resources Kansas, your free resource with National and Kansas specific content designed with you in mind!
Find resources for your program on a wide range of topics! Popular areas of content include Engaging Families, In the Classroom, Saving Money, and Successful Program Management. Also includes sections on available professional development and financial assistance opportunities.
ECE Resources Kansas is developed in partnership with early care and education organizations and agencies across the state to provide you the most comprehensive collection of resources.ECE Resources Kansas
Open Enrollment through the Healthcare Marketplace now through January 15th
Apply for health insurance during Open Enrollment through January 15th at www.healthcare.gov. Apply by December 15th for coverage that starts on January 1st. Ways to apply for 2023 health insurance, a webpage on Healthcare.gov, lists methods for applying for public health insurance.
What Do Early Educators Need to Know About the Marketplace? This two-page document from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides critical information about how to access more affordable health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. A Spanish-language version is available on this webpage.
To apply for Medicaid in Kansas, visit Apply for KanCare (ks.gov). Both online and printable applications are available.
New Fingerprinting Options for Child Care Providers
The Kansas Department for Health and Environment (KDHE) has taken responsive measures to meet a growing need for child care providers across the state. KDHE introduced LiveScan digital fingerprinting to improve the speed and efficiency of the fingerprinting process, often an integral part of required background checks. Expansion took place in partnership with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), the Department for Children and Families (DCF), local police departments, and sheriff’s offices statewide. The result is a more dynamic fingerprinting process and the reduction of wait times for fingerprint results. For more information on the fingerprinting process, and background checks in general, please see the KDHE website at Background Check Information | KDHE, KS.
In addition to the LiveScan locations, DCF is offering a mobile fingerprinting unit for select areas around the state.
Free Water Testing for Child Care Providers
Free Lead Tests for Facilities (Water)
Through the Kansas Department of Health & Environment, child care providers can have their facility’s water tested for lead for FREE. You can sign up online or call (800) 674-7961.
You can find more information about reducing the risk of lead in drinking water at the EPA’s website, found at 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water | US EPA.
Governor Laura Kelly Announces $53 Million in Appreciation Bonuses for Child Care Providers
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.
Resources Available to Help Children Understand Recent Events
Images from the media can be scary and leave children feeling unsure of their surroundings, fearful, or anxious. According to NAEYC, children rely on the trusted adults in their lives to develop their understanding of big world issues. Creating a space for children to talk about these topics can help to guard against the potential negative impacts of witnessing community violence. The American Academy of Pediatrics shares that community violence can cause distress for young children.
Kansas Quality Network provides a variety of resources for families, caregivers, and community members to help navigate discussions and address recent events as they see fit for their family and children that they work with.
Parents and caregivers should always review content before sharing with the children in their care. We are not making recommendations on how to handle situations, but rather, providing resources to support families as they navigate these tough conversations.
- NAEYC Resources on Coping with Violence
- Teaching Tolerance
- Sesame Street in Communities – Community Violence Resources
- APA – Cómo ayudar a sus hijos tras los tiroteos en los centros de educación
Reminder: Please be sure to review articles and activities to ensure they are appropriate for the age group.
Governor Laura Kelly Announces Actions to Assist Kansans Affected by Infant Formula Shortage
TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced actions her administration has taken to ease the burden on Kansas families affected by the nationwide infant formula shortage. Since February, the Kelly Administration has been working with state agencies and federal partners to address the issue.
“I have directed all state agencies to do everything in their power to help Kansans access vital infant formula,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “From increasing flexibility to helping eliminate barriers at check-out, my Administration is doing what is within our power to ease the impact of the national infant formula shortage on Kansas families.”
Governor Kelly has instructed agencies to work with their federal counterparts to expedite relief. To that end, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has taken a leading role in working with the White House, the National Governors Association, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Association, and private industry to help coordinate efforts and eliminate red tape.
KDHE has implemented a series of waivers to provide the maximum flexibility in making more infant formula products – including Ready to Feed (RTF) formulas – available to Kansans and has approved additional formula products for use by Kansas WIC families. The agency is also working with the Kansas Department for Children and Families on increased communication efforts to inform the public of possible alternatives.
The Kelly Administration, including KDHE, recommends the following to families struggling to find the formula they need to feed their child:
- Call your OBGYN or pediatrician to see if they can provide any resources to access formula or for suggestions on an alternative formula to meet your infant’s health needs.
- Switch to another brand or type of formula that is available if recommended by your infant’s physician.
- Contact your local WIC agency to see if the infant is eligible for WIC benefits.
- Contact smaller stores and drugstores that carry formula to see if they have products in stock.
- Kansas WIC families should contact their local health department or health agency for assistance in receiving substitute products when needed.
“KDHE is committed to ensuring infants in Kansas have access to formula,” Secretary Janet Stanek said. “Since February, we have been working to do what is possible, within our authority, to provide relief for Kansans. We urge all impacted families to follow these recommendations and stay up-to-date with information to care for their family’s needs.”
Families are strongly encouraged not to unnecessarily stockpile formula in such a way that would cause further strain on the supply chain.
KDHE strongly discourages the use of toddler formula to feed infants, watering down formula, or trying to make infant formula at home.
The Kelly Administration will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates as they become available. For more information about WIC eligibility, visit the KDHE WIC website. Find the approved substitution formula list for WIC families here.
Emergency rental assistance available through Kansas Housing Resource Corporation
The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) is providing rent, utility, and internet assistance to households experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID pandemic through the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program. To date, KHRC has paid out over $73 million in emergency rental assistance through the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program, but there are still millions of dollars left that can be used to stop people from being evicted. Landlords and tenants apply via a joint online process. If the application is approved, the landlord or service provider receives funds directly from KERA and applies KERA funds to the applicant’s account. Approved applicants are eligible for up to 12 months of assistance.
If you or anyone you know are in need of assistance as a tenant or landlord, please visit the KERA website and consider sharing the following resources:
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