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WKU awarded $2.2 million contract for Family Child Care Network of Kentucky

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Western Kentucky University has been awarded a $2.2 million annual contract to host the new Family Child Care Network of Kentucky. 

 

FCCN-KY, a state-funded non-profit organization that recruits, supports and trains family child care providers, will be housed and administered through WKU’s Department of Training & Technical Assistance Services (T/TAS) in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. 

“We are thrilled that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Division of Child Care chose our department, T/TAS at Western Kentucky University, to oversee this new statewide network dedicated to Family Child Care providers,” said Dr. Amy Hood, Infant/Toddler Specialist and Director of the newly established Family Child Care Network.  

WKU will provide support and oversight in eight established child care regions and will lead the Commonwealth’s effort in establishing necessary infrastructure in support of early child care providers across Kentucky.   

“This network is a most exciting step in establishing WKU as the state’s leader in supporting early childhood care providers as emerging small business entrepreneurs in the state,” said Dr. Corinne Murphy, dean of WKU’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. “Establishing family care homes is an opportunity to grow community support and establish critical infrastructure serving the broader economic health of our region. In-home child care allows growing numbers of parents and guardians to return to the workforce. To serve as a pillar of community support, Family Child Care Homes must meet the highest standards and procedural safeguards.”  

The network is designed to ensure that in-home child care providers have the support they need to be successful business owners and provide the children and families they serve the foundation to have what they need to be successful in school and in life. The network ensures local and accessible supports for family child care providers and is responsible for recruiting, coaching, training, offering technical assistance and other supports to family child care providers (registered, certified and Type II family child care homes).  

“When people think about child care, their initial thought is a large organized out of home setting where children spend 10-12 hours a day. They really don’t think about the smaller more intimate settings that are providing a big child care need for families,” Dr. Hood said.  

“In Kentucky, the law indicates that anyone offering care for more than three unrelated children in their home are to be regulated by the state,” she said. “There are a few options for how they can meet the legal requirements; they can become registered providers, or they can become official business owners and operate Family Child Care in their homes. While there are currently 216 certified Family Child Care Homes across the state and even fewer registered providers, we know that this new network which is dedicated to the recruitment of new home providers and supporting our existing family child care providers comes at a prime time to build the state’s child care system.” 

Dr. Hood noted that many areas in Kentucky were considered "child care deserts" before the COVID-19 pandemic. “Kentucky lost 10% of its regulated providers during the pandemic meaning even more child care deserts in our state,” she said. “The loss of regulated child care poses another issue impeding our workforce when people do not have regulated places to take their children so they can go to work.”   

For more information about the network, contact Dr. Amy Hood at amy.hood@wku.edu    

- WKU - 

 

 

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