Jun 30, 2023

Child Care grants to create hundreds of spots, incentivize infants

Posted Jun 30, 2023 1:47 PM

Hutch Post

RENO COUNTY — The Reno County Child Care Task Force, in cooperation with the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce, received two significant grants, a Child Care Capacity Accelerator Grant of $2,173,887 and an Innovative Communities Grant of $247,600.

"There are eight projects that will create over 300 child care spots, that we will create until 2026," said Abby Stockebrand with the Task Force.

Hutchinson Regional Medical Foundation will receive $769,211 to create 84 spots.

Buhler USD 312, with locations at Plum Creek Elementary and Buhler Grade School will receive $596,494 to create 78 spots.

Central Christian Preschool & Child Care will receive $341,225 to create 29 spots

City of Pretty Prairie will receive $230,279 to create 18 spots.

Abundant Life Child Care & Preschool will receive $159,811 to create 63 spots.

Haven USD 312 with locations in Haven and Yoder, will receive $76,867 to create 36 spots.

"Of those 308 spots, there were 38 that are going to be school age," Stockebrand said. "Primarily, we are talking zero to five, which we know is the highest demand that is needed around Reno County."

The current child care deficit in Reno County is significant, with an estimated 1,800 additional slots currently needed.

"The Chamber understands and a lot of our workforce and our businesses, they understand, this is a workforce issue," Stockebrand said. "A lot of them have raised their hands and said, when it's time, let us know how to help. That's a lot of what the Reno County Child Care Task Force is doing is asking, how do we build an industry around child care and how do we make it so that businesses can get plugged in easily, so that parents can get plugged in easily and just make everything a lot more collaborative and cohesive."

Additionally, the Innovative Communities Grant will support strategies to enhance child care capacity in Reno County, particularly for infants, a crucial area in need. The Task Force will use the funds to incentivize providers to accept infants, effectively increasing the availability of slots for this age group. A part of these funds will also be utilized for concentrated local training for providers, ensuring that they can continually enhance their skills while receiving wage reimbursements to maintain their financial stability.

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