Governor Kelly Announces Nearly $43.6M in Grant Funding, Creation of Over 4,200 New Child Care Slots

~~Child Care Capacity Accelerator Grant Funding awarded to 52 Kansas Community Organizations, Partnerships, and Child Care Facilities~~

TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly and the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund announced funding awards to 52 statewide organizations for the purpose of creating new, sustainable, high-quality licensed child care slots across the state and accelerating capacity-building in support of families, businesses, and economic development. These grants are part of the Child Care Capacity Accelerator grant program, which was designed to advance the rapid development of additional child care slots statewide. The program will provide $43,593,294 in grant funding, which will create 4,211 new child care slots across the state.  

“We must also harness the economic potential of these investments by ensuring that families and communities have the support needed to fully participate in our growing economy,” Governor Kelly said. “By providing this critical funding, communities across the state are receiving the much-needed support to open or expand child care facilities that will increase access to care for families and support the healthy development of our youngest Kansans.”  

The Child Care Capacity Accelerator grant program braids together funding from four sources: $20 million in SPARK funding from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund in the American Rescue Plan approved by the SPARK Executive Committee and State Finance Council, $20 million in federal Child Care Development Block Grant ARPA Discretionary funds provided by the Department for Children and Families, $1 million from the federal Preschool Development Birth—5 planning grant funds (PDG B-5), and a gift of $2.5 million provided in collaboration with the Patterson Family Foundation.  

The Child Care Capacity Accelerator represents a significant investment in child care and early learning to support economic development, create new jobs with better compensation for early educators, and support workforce participation for families with young children. Unique to this program is the ability to use SPARK funds to support new construction and facility improvements—which is generally not allowed under other federal funding support for child care. The gift from the Patterson Family Foundation will allow us to add construction to further expand capacity. The funds will support major start-up operational needs such as expanded staffing, training, furniture, and equipment.  

“Kansas has wide-ranging challenges related to child care availability, that differ depending on where you live. We are excited to distribute resources to a diverse set of grantees to help accelerate access to child care” said Melissa Rooker, Executive Director of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund. “Having funding sources that allow for construction and major renovation is a game-changer. We look forward to helping guide these projects to completion and hope the success of these efforts provide Kansas families more options for safe, high-quality child care. This will benefit the workforce of today as we nurture and care for our children, who will become the workforce of tomorrow.” 

The grants were awarded based upon a competitive request for proposal process that yielded 105 applications totaling over $117 million. Grantees were required to identify at least 25% matching funds from other sources. The grant period begins July 1, 2023, and extends through September 2026. 

A subset of 16 communities have also been selected to participate as an Innovation Communities Cohort, to document and facilitate statewide distribution of successful strategies and lessons learned to help us identify and scale effective and transformative approaches statewide. The bonus funding for this program is provided in part through the PDG B-5 funds.  

A complete list of Accelerator grantees can be accessed at 

A map of each awarded project can be found here.