Federal COVID-19 funds will help early childhood care in Kansas

The recent allocation of federal COVID-19 funds by state leaders will help early childhood care in Kansas, officials said Wednesday.

Allocations approved earlier this month by the State Finance Council included $9.9 million in early childhood investments.

About $4.8 million will be used to fund seven Child Care Health Consultants — at least one for all public health regions in Kansas. These consultants will help child care facilities prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide COVID emergency kits to children.

About $3 million of those funds will be available for an early childhood workforce health fund. This would cover early child care workers for their health care costs if they want to be tested for COVID-19 and if they have subsequent health care costs.

Melissa Rooker, executive director of Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund, said early childcare workers are often low-paid and uninsured and this grant program will incentivize them to get tested for COVID if they don’t feel well and to get treatment.

Another $2.1 million will go toward helping low-income families get computer devices and internet services. This will help families with young children who may not have the technology in their homes needed to stay connected to their home visitors, teachers and other service providers.

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