Child care benefits from August will remain the same for September to help working Kansas families adapt to delayed school openings and remote learning situations, the Kansas Department for Children and Families said Monday.


Normally, child care benefits are reduced in September to account for children being in school.


Many school districts, including Topeka Unified School District 501, are scheduled to start the school year after Labor Day. In many cases, some districts have chosen hybrid or remote-learning models in response to the coronavirus.


"We know a large number of districts have moved the beginning of the school year to September," DCF Secretary Laura Howard said in a statement. "This means many families are needing child care during a time when their kids would normally be in school."


Families with existing child care plans under the department are eligible, and as long as applications are submitted before the end of September, those additional benefits will be prorated based on the application date.


The department is also offering additional child care help by expanding eligibility for its Hero Relief Program, which provides subsidies to essential workers’ families who are at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.


School personnel can now apply, including but not limited to educators, bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers.


"We know teachers and other school personnel are dealing with difficult situations involving the care of their own children," Howard said. "By expanding the Hero Relief Program, we hope to relieve some of the financial burden many of these families now face."