Ottawa area child care is receiving a $22K boost through a state grant

The Herald Staff

The Ottawa area is set to benefit from a portion of more than $2.1 million in grant funding that has been awarded to fuel "All in for Kansas Kids," a program used by the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund for distributing money and resources for childcare and related services across the state. 

Ottawa was among those that received a grant submitted by Child Care Aware of Eastern Kansas. Ottawa is working collaboratively with Child Care Aware of Eastern Kansas, Chanute and the Hi-Crest neighborhood of Topeka. Ottawa received over $22,000 to support existing providers to offer high-quality care for infants and toddlers and create 10 additional slots for children birth to age 3 during nontraditional hours.

“We are really excited about the opportunities this funding provides for child care providers, families and businesses/industries in Ottawa," Rebecca McFarland, K-State District Extension agent for family and child development, said in a statement. "The funds will be used to provide mini-grants for child care providers to purchase age-appropriate items and equipment for infant and/or toddler quality improvements or the creation of infant/toddler slots, especially during non-traditional hours; before 7:00 am, after 6:00 pm, and weekends.” 

McFarland is managing the grant locally. Local grant efforts are also being coordinated by Paul Bean, Franklin County Economic Development; Kimber Corn, ECKAN Head Start; Paola Alarcon, Ottawa Police Department; Kelly Jorgensen, Division for Early Childhood.

Grantees from organizations and child care providers large and small from all across the state will use their awards to develop and implement new approaches that help children and families in their communities thrive. More than 140 applications were submitted, each focusing on addressing gaps in access, availability, and quality of child care, as well as community-level supports for families. The work is addressing gaps identified in the 2019 Needs Assessment and is being guided by the All in for Kansas Kids Strategic Plan, which maps the state’s future direction for early childhood.

To learn more about specific funded programs and activities, and to connect with the All in for Kansas Kids Strategic Planning efforts to strengthen the Kansas early childhood care and education system, visit the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund website at http://AllinforKansasKids.org.