Governor Steve Beshear and the Governor's Office of Early Childhood today announced $196,600 in funding for four regions to establish or strengthen Community Early Childhood Councils (CECC) across Kentucky to promote school readiness for children.
The grants are part of Gov. Beshear's ongoing commitment to improve education and health services for Kentucky's youngest citizens.
Each area of the state has a regional coordinator or anchor who helps surrounding counties create or improve local councils. The local school district in each anchor county is responsible for implementing the program.
Each region was awarded a $49,150 grant, including:
Clinton (anchor county), Adair, Cumberland and Russell counties;
Morehead State University (anchor), Bracken, Lewis, Lawrence and Martin counties;
Madison (anchor), Estill, Powell and Lee counties; and
Todd (anchor), Christian, Muhlenberg and Hopkins counties.
Gov. Beshear formed the Governor's Task Force on Early Childhood Development and Education in February 2009 to study the state's system of early childhood services. As a result of the task force's recommendations, he created the Early Childhood Advisory Council.
"We created the Council to unite community leaders behind common strategies, standards and goals for Kentucky's early childhood system," Gov. Beshear said. "These grants are a direct result of its work to provide and support our communities."
The purpose of the Community Early Childhood Councils is to bring local people together to assess the unique needs of each early childhood community and build upon current strengths and explore creative ways to meet those needs, Beshear said.
Terry Tolan, executive director of the Governor's Office of Early Childhood said the local grants will help inactive councils in rural communities by anchoring them to a strong county council and creating a regional model to revitalize or start regional councils.
"This model has been extremely successful in improving collaboration and coordination of early childhood services and partners in local communities," Tolan said.
Active councils in 105 counties across the state include community representatives from local school districts, public health departments, childcare providers, Head Start, local libraries and others.
"Local Community Early Childhood Councils are an important part of our work to improve kindergarten readiness in Kentucky," Tolan said. "Utilizing a strong regional coordinator helps each of these areas maximize local community growth, bring stakeholders together and coordinate delivery of services from birth until children enter school."
For more information about the Governor's Office of Early Childhood, please visit http://kidsnow.ky.gov.