Kansas families who are searching for work at local workforce centers will now have greater access to child care thanks to a new pilot program announced today by Governor Laura Kelly. The initiative is a partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce and local workforce investment boards administering Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I funding and the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) child care subsidy for job seekers.

“Access to quality affordable child care is one of the biggest barriers that prevents working parents from joining the workforce,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “We have recruited new jobs and businesses to communities across Kansas. But in order for those companies to see success and grow, they will need a prepared and available workforce to support them. We want this initiative to be the first of many that supports Kansas employers and Kansas families.”

The program is being piloted in Workforce Area One which is comprised of 62 counties located in central and western Kansas. The funds available through WIOA total $500,000 and are available to eligible persons job searching and accessing services through Kansas Workforce Centers.

“This innovative referral system between state agencies will help Kansas job-seekers gain access to child care assistance,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “Access to safe, affordable child care will mean more families can find meaningful employment. Children benefit from spending time in a safe learning environment, it is one less thing a job seeker must coordinate, and it supports employers that are working to hire staff.”

WIOA is designed to strengthen and improve the public workforce system and help get Americans, including youth and those with significant barriers to employment, into high-quality jobs and careers, and help employers hire and retain skilled workers.

“Working parents have unique challenges, and this initiative will help many access the quality child care they need in their back-to-work plans,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “Supporting working families is good for our workforce, and good for our economy in Kansas.”

Through collaboration, the agencies developed a process to refer job seekers to appropriate child care assistance programs in order to maximize the available funding. A pilot began July 26 with Kansas Workforce One and the DCF west region. 

A DCF child care assistance application may be submitted online, by mail, fax, dropped off, or submitted in-person at a DCF service center. To apply online or see a list of DCF office locations visit https://cssp.kees.ks.gov/apspssp/sspNonMed.portal

Learn more about the DCF child care subsidy visit http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/ees/pages/child_care/childcaresubsidy.aspx.

To access WIOA services with the workforce center, see www.kansasworks.com for a list Workforce locations or Career One Stop shops.