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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Childcare grant program approved, group stalled over county childcare facility

Childcare providers in Linn County can get grants for up to $250 for their operations in a program approved by the county commission. (Wix stock photo)

MOUND CITY – The Linn County Commission at it meeting on Monday, March 27, approved offering four $250 grants to childcare providers. The funding for this grant would be from the $1,000 that had been for a continuing education grant.

The grant would be made available by the county’s Economic Development Department.

Department Director Jessica Hightower said that no one had continuing education grant, so it was discontinued.

She explained that it could be used for registration, continuing education, supplies, educational materials, books, and toys. It is not intended for food or construction of property.

She said that it is a reimbursement grant. After the applicant is awarded the grant, that person will before Dec. 1 submit receipts to economic development for expenses up to $250. The receipts have to be in the current calendar year.

Hightower said that the economic development committee would like this to be available to current childcare providers and anyone who is in the process of opening a childcare facility to help them with registration costs and education hours.

The commissioners unanimously approved the childcare provider grant.

Commission Chair Danny McCullough asked about the childcare committee that the commission created last year to look into childcare in the county.

Hightower told the commissioners that the committee had not met in a while.

She said the committee would like to try to establish a childcare facility in the county. However, when she has brought that up in the past to the commission, she was told by the commissioners that she really wasn’t supposed to work on that because they did not know where to put it.

Commissioner Jim Johnson said he did not think that the county should get involved in childcare. Commissioner Jason Hightower agreed.

“So with that being said, I don’t feel that I am well served running the childcare committee. They would really like to see a facility in the county,” said Jessica Hightower.

Jessica Hightower said she would like to turn the committee over to the committee members and take more of a support role, but she did not know if that is something the commissioners were interested in.

She explained that what kicked the whole childcare issue off was that Childcare Aware of Kansas set up a meeting with four counties in this area to raise awareness of the childcare deficit that the state has.

They are trying to push for more facilities and home daycares to open. She said that Garnett was in the process of opening a childcare facility.

Jessica Hightower told the commissioners, “The people who are on that committee are passionate about the subject and I really think that if they can take off and run with it, I can help them connect with resources.”

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