U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie met with members of the local community on Wednesday evening to discuss the impact of childcare during the pandemic and the use of federal aid.
According to Benjamin Gies, director of early childhood policy and practice for the Prichard Committee, Kentucky received $ 65 million from the CARES Act for the Child Care & Development Block Grant.
The money was distributed proportionally across the state and then passed on to local childcare providers based on the population. Janet Land, interim preschool director for Settle Memorial United Methodist Church, said without the help, Settle “would not have survived.”
Land said she saw families struggle to get the child to daycare. To help, the parents gave up their jobs to look after their children.
The initial $ 65 million was spent on childcare system repairs and an additional $ 195 million was made available to the state through December. These went into direct sustainable payments, said Gies. These payments affected different centers and how members paid for the services.
Now that Guthrie knew where the funding was going, Gies said the money received was great and now they are looking for something that will add long-term stability to the American Child Care Center.
Land said the biggest part is teaching the community the value of what happens to children. Land, Gies, and others are currently working together trying to develop a strategic five-year plan for universal and voluntary high quality early childhood education for every child in Owensboro-Daviess County.
Their ideas for the plan come from other successful areas in which they have seen progress. By conducting focus groups and community connections, they learn how to best serve the community.
Along with the financial call to action for Guthrie, Gies asked him to change qualifications for Burmese children so they could join the Head Start program earlier. Effective immediately, qualifications for the Early Head Start include income levels, disabilities, and others.
Gies hopes that by adapting the qualifications they could include the ability to learn English as a disability to allow these children the ability to learn English before they go to kindergarten.
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