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Monday, March 1, 2021

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Estimated $3.5 Million in Grants to Assist Kansas Child Care Programs

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

TOPEKA –Governor Laura Kelly today announced that Child Care Aware of Kansas, in partnership with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Office of Recovery, has launched a new Child Care Health Consultant Network to provide technical assistance to licensed child care providers as they implement COVID-19 health and safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

After working directly with a consultant to assess the environment, child care programs are eligible to apply for grant funding to purchase supplies or make adaptations to home or center-based facilities. Child Care Aware of Kansas anticipates providing $3.5 million in grants and supplies.

“Through the assistance and funding provided to Kansas child care providers by the Child Care Health Consultant Network, we will not only protect the health and safety of our child care workers and kids, but also ensure that centers can stay open throughout the duration of the pandemic,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “These grants will help ensure working parents have access to safe, healthy child care facilities and continue to strengthen our economy and keep businesses open. I want to thank Child Care Aware of Kansas, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and the Office of Recovery for their innovative approach to fulfilling this need.”

The Child Care Health Consultant Network comes at a critical time for Kansas’ child care system. A recent study by Yale University showed that child care settings were not associated with increased risks of COVID-19 infections provided that appropriate health and safety measures were taken. Kansas’ Child Care Health Consultants work with child care providers to implement the most current guidance from the CDC and KDHE.

With the first phase of implementation for the Child Care Health Consultant Network nearing completion, Child Care Aware of Kansas and state partners are now shifting their attention to long-term sustainability of the Network. In addition to supporting healthy and safe child care settings, Child Care Health Consultants will play a crucial role in protecting and promoting the health growth and development of children and their families.

“The Child Care Health Consultant Network is a critical support for child care programs that are working hard to ensure that children are safe and healthy in the midst of the pandemic. We work with providers to assess the child care environment and ensure that health and safety measures are in place,” said Kelly Davydov, Executive Director. “Child care is essential to a thriving Kansas economy, and families want to know that their children are cared for in a safe, nurturing environment. We’re doing everything we can to ensure that this support continues to be available for child care programs.”

“The global pandemic placed a considerable amount of uncertainty into my day-to-day that I had not expected at the beginning of the year,” said Dawn Chapman, owner and operator of The Nature and Nurture Spot in Gardner, Kansas. “With the help of the Child Care Health Consultant Network, I’ve been able to purchase the supplies I need to help ensure the safety of the children I care for every day.”

To date, 415 child care programs have requested consultations.

For more information about the Child Care Health Consultant Network, visit https://ks.childcareaware.org/child-care-health-consultant-network/.

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