Governor Kelly Announces Child Care Slots Grew by More than 6.8K Since May 2022

~~ Provider Applications Increase by 433% in Less than a Year~~ 

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that child care slots in Kansas grew by 6,848 total slots from May 2022 to July 2023, thanks in part to increased funding and flexibility. This expansion includes licensed daycare homes, group daycare homes, preschools, child care centers, and school-age and drop-in programs. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) says from October 2022 to May 2023, the State has seen a 433% increase in child care provider initial applications.  

“We know the Kansas child care slot supply was not adequate before 2020, but our current numbers speak to our work to steady and rebuild child care availability across the state,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “We must continue to invest in our state’s early learning and child care programs. The long-term benefits of investments are clear: stronger families, safe, stable nurturing relationships, improved outcomes for children, and a more robust economy.” 

Earlier this summer, Governor Laura Kelly and the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund announced funding awards to 52 statewide organizations to create new, sustainable, high-quality, licensed child care slots across the state and accelerate capacity-building in support of families, businesses, and economic development. These grants are part of the Child Care Capacity Accelerator grant program, designed to advance the rapid development of additional child care slots statewide. 

“While there is still much work to do, we will not lose momentum and will continue to partner with providers to open up,” KDHE Secretary Janet Stanek said. “The increase in child care slots and applications for child care providers lifted some areas out of ‘child care deserts,’ which is defined as an area with more than three children ages 5 and younger for every licensed child care slot or no licensed slots at all.”  

In addition, the Kansas Department of Children and Families has been running a child care recruitment campaign over the last several months to reach each child, every family, and all Kansans with information on child care assistance for families and how to become a provider. Kansas continues to waive the costs for application and background check fees, which is an additional incentive for new programs and increasing access to the workforce.