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Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Kansas

Grants can offer vital financial assistance to childcare business owners. Learn about the available childcare grants in Kansas and tips to increase your chances of receiving this funding.

Navigating Childcare Grants and Other Funding Resources in Kansas

Navigating Childcare Grants in Kansas

Childcare providers are indispensable to our communities, offering a nurturing and educational environment for children during their formative years. Despite their importance, the cost of delivering high-quality care can be significant for childcare business owners. In Kansas, childcare grants serve as a vital support system for providers looking to deliver exceptional care to families.

This article outlines various childcare grants in Kansas and provides guidance for navigating the grant application process.

What is a grant?

Grants are non-repayable funds or products distributed by one party, often a government department, corporation, foundation, or trust, to a recipient, with the intent that they are put towards a specific purpose. In the case of childcare, grants can support various aspects of operation, from starting a new business to staff training or even capital improvement projects.

The U.S. government’s second and final funding package for fiscal year 2024 includes a $1 billion increase for programs focused on child care and early childhood education¹. This new funding includes an additional $275 million for the Head Start program and $725 million for the Child Care and Development Block Grant which funds state efforts to provide child care to families and improve the quality of care.

Download a free grant writing guide for childcare programs here!

Childcare grants in Kansas

Kansas offers many grants and financial incentives to support childcare providers. These resources are divided into several categories, each designed to target a specific area of need within the childcare sector in Kansas. Here are the key areas to explore: 

Grants and resources from government agencies

The Kansas Department for Children and Families is the lead state agency that oversees the distribution of the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in Kansas. This funding can be in the form of certificates, grants, or contracts to provide childcare services to low-income families or improve the quality of care provided.

Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF)

The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) provides funding for initiatives that benefit childcare providers: 

  • Initial Child Care Coalition-Building Grant: This grant opportunity supports emerging child care community task forces by funding initial organization and activities, with up to $2,000 available. 
  • Implementing Child Care Capacity-Building Plans Grant: This grant, offering up to $45,000, aids communities with established task forces in executing strategies to enhance access to child care in their area.
  • Links to Quality (L2Q): The L2Q program is a quality recognition and improvement system (QRIS) to assess, improve, and recognize the quality of childcare programs. Participants in the program receive access to grants, awards, and other financial support, as well as other resources and training to achieve their program goals.

Kansas Department of Commerce

The Non-Profit Childcare and Early Education Facilities Grant, funded by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce, aims to address the child care shortage in Kansas. Funds from this grant can be used for new construction, renovations, property acquisitions, and design and planning fees for nonprofit childcare and education facilities.

Teacher with toddler at daycare.Source

Professional development support

Investing in the professional development of childcare staff is crucial for maintaining quality in early childhood education. There are numerous resources available to early childhood professionals in Kansas who wish to further their education and training.

Child Care Aware of Kansas

Child Care Aware of Kansas is the main resource hub for childcare providers in the state. Get assistance with starting your business, meeting licensing requirements, accessing free and low-cost training, connecting with families in your area, and finding funding and other resources to help with costs. 

Child Care Health Consultant Network

This network offers providers access to one-on-one coaching and planning sessions to meet a variety of needs including childcare recruitment, licensing guidelines, health and safety support, community connections, and more.

Kansas Child Care Training Opportunities (KCCTO)

KCCTO offers scholarships to individuals for early childhood training related to licensing requirements or Child Development Associate (CDA) education requirements and for higher education courses towards an associate or bachelor’s degree. The organization also provides scholarships for pediatric first aid and CPR training, childcare center director’s credentials, and facility accreditations.

Grants from private foundations

Engaging with private foundations can open up new avenues for funding that are not readily available through public sources. In Kansas, several notable private foundations are dedicated to enhancing childcare services through financial grants and assistance.

The Sunderland Foundation

With a history of supporting construction projects, the Sunderland Foundation offers grants that can be used for the physical expansion or improvement of childcare facilities.

The Kauffman Foundation

While primarily focused on education and entrepreneurship, the Kauffman Foundation provides funding to programs that aim to improve the quality of early childhood education and care.

The Patterson Foundation

Known for its commitment to rural communities, the Patterson Foundation supports initiatives that enhance the quality of life across rural Kansas and northwestern Missouri communities, including those geared towards improving educational outcomes, health care, and economic opportunity. 

The PNC Foundation

Through its Grow Up Great initiative, the PNC Foundation supports early childhood education efforts, offering grants to providers for curriculum development, teacher training, and classroom resources in Kansas and beyond.

Federal grants and funding opportunities

The federal government offers a variety of grants and funding opportunities to support childcare providers across the United States, including Kansas. These grants are designed to improve access to quality childcare, support the professional development of childcare workers, and enhance the learning environments for children under their care. Some key federal funding sources include:

U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) offers discretionary grants that are awarded using a competitive process, as well as student loans or grants to attend college, and formula grants determined by Congress. Here are some helpful resources to explore:

  • ED grants homepage: The ED grants homepage allows you to browse funding opportunities, links to grant applications, and your eligibility status.
  • The website is the central location that provides information on grants across the federal government. You can search for and apply to different funding opportunities, determine your eligibility, and access grant writing tips. 
  • Head Start and Early Head Start Programs: Aimed at promoting school readiness for children under five from low-income families, these programs provide grants directly to public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services. The Office of Head Start (OHS) posts notices of funding opportunities (NOFOs) that seek applications for grand funds. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) manages various financial assistance programs for rural applications. One example is the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program that provides funds to be used to purchase, construct and/or improve essential community facilities like childcare centers, purchase equipment, and pay related project expenses in rural areas with no more than 20,000 residents.

Applying for grants

Applying for childcare grants in Kansas can be a competitive process, as funding is often limited. To increase your chances of receiving a grant, it’s essential to carefully review and follow all application guidelines and requirements. Here are some general steps to take when applying for childcare grants:

  • Meet all licensing requirements: Ensure that your program meets all of the licensing requirements in Kansas. Maintaining licensing compliance shows a commitment to high-quality standards and is often also required for you to be eligible for specific grants and funding opportunities.
  • Do your research and determine your eligibility: Research available grants and determine which ones align with your needs and goals. Before applying, check to see that you meet all the necessary criteria. Most (but not all) government grants are aimed at 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, so be sure to read the eligibility requirements carefully.
  • Gather your documentation: Most grant applications will ask for specific documentation, such as financial statements, demographic information, licenses, and certifications. Be sure to have these prepared in advance. With brightwheel you can quickly and easily access custom reporting to meet your specific needs.
  • Write a compelling grant proposal: Read successful grant applications to learn how to structure your approach. Include an executive summary of your project and clearly define the need or problem your childcare services address. Provide a detailed description of your program and list your objectives and expected outcomes. Follow all grant application instructions, have someone else review your proposal before submitting, and submit your application on time. 

Download a free grant writing guide for childcare programs here!


Additional tips for success

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when applying for grants for your childcare center:

  • Stay informed: Connect and engage with local and state organizations focused on early childhood education. If possible, join their email lists or follow their social media pages, as these organizations will often share grant and funding information as it becomes available. Also, regularly check the websites of federal agencies to stay informed on available grants or programs. 
  • Create a budget: A comprehensive childcare center budget will highlight the financial needs and priorities of your program and give funders a clear understanding of how a grant will be utilized. With a clear picture of your program’s finances, you can also maximize the impact of any funding that is received.
  • Plan a fundraiser: Hosting a fundraising event can raise necessary funds for your program. Have a bake sale, organize a silent auction, or host a trivia night. 
  • Hire a grant proposal writer: If your budget allows, consider hiring a grant proposal writer. A grant proposal writer can craft a compelling narrative about your program and navigate the complexities of the grant application process for you.

Final thoughts

Navigating the landscape of grants for childcare providers in Kansas requires commitment and insight. By tapping into the diverse grants available from state programs or private organizations, childcare providers have the opportunity to enhance and expand their businesses.


1. “Former Preschool Teacher Patty Murray Delivers $1 Billion More to Help Families Find and Afford Child Care & Pre-K”, United States Senate Committee on Appropriations, 03/21/2024.

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