The Eastern Kentucky Child Care Coalition (EKCCC), of Berea with a field office in Middlesboro, has announced their participation in the Family Day Care Homes Program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Food Program administered by the Kentucky Department of Education. Harlan County currently has one facility, Marcy’s Playground, of Harlan, and one home owner participating in this program.
“At one time, we had as many as 10 home-care providers in Harlan County, but over time, because it’s a hard business to stay with, it has dropped to two,” said EKCCC Executive Director June Widman. “A lot of families did this for several years while their own children were young and it worked out for them to stay in their homes yet still generating an income.”
Widman said in the state of Kentucky, childcare is regulated beginning with a basic law that says anyone who is caring for four or more children that are not related to them on a regular basis, which means more than 10 hours per week, must come under regulation.
“There are a couple of opportunities for people who want to do that,” said Widman. “It’s basically looking at childcare as a business. If you are doing it outside your home, it’s a childcare center and that comes under the licensing regulations. If you want to have just a small family home care business, where you care for four to six children, that comes under certification and you have to go through several different criteria — training for things such as first aid, CPR, learning about child abuse prevention and learning what is appropriate for children at different ages. Your home gets inspected by someone from the state to make sure it is a safe place for children.”
Widman said there is also another opportunity where you can become a licensed home provider and care up to 12 children if you have the space. She said “it involves a bit more.”
“Where we come in, besides helping people get started in this program properly, is we act as a sponsor for the childcare food program, which is similar to the school breakfast/lunch program,” said Widman. “It’s run by the USDA and it’s to insure good nutrition and appropriate amounts of food is being provided for children who are being cared for outside the home. So, when families are doing childcare as a business in their home, they are eligible to get reimbursed for serving the right kind of food and keeping up with the latest news on nutrition. They also have to do paperwork to document that, so that children in their care their parents can be reassured they are being fed well.”
Widman said Harlan County, in general, has a high enough poverty rate that all the kids being served in the homes in Harlan County are eligible to participate in the food program.
For more information on starting a family childcare business, you may call (859) 986-5896.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org