June 23, 2024

Governor Laura Kelly Ceremonially Signs Bill to Make Child Care More Affordable and Accessible

SHAWNEE MISSION, KAN. – Governor Laura Kelly today joined one of the largest child care providers in Kansas, AdventHealth, to ceremonially sign House Bill 2237 and celebrate the bipartisan passage of the expanded child care tax credit. The legislation makes child care more accessible and affordable for all Kansas families by incentivizing businesses to provide child care services at their place of employment or through contracting with licensed providers. After signing the legislation, Governor Kelly took a tour of the facility and met with child care staff and children.

“We’re making child care more accessible and affordable to make life easier for our working parents,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “The case for Kansas businesses to take advantage of these tax credits is clear: Providing child care helps employers attract more job candidates, retain quality employees, and create a diverse, engaged workforce.”

“Expanding this program levels the playing field for small businesses and allows them to compete for talent that will be empowered to put down roots in our communities,” said Senate Democratic Leader Dinah Sykes. “There remains plenty of work to do to ensure that Kansans have the support they need as they begin their careers and their families. This child care tax credit is a powerful tool that, if leveraged by our businesses, can radically transform which Kansans can participate in our workforce.”

Signing HB 2237 is one more way Governor Kelly has supported child care in Kansas. In June, she announced that her Administration is giving a total of $53 million in bonuses to early child care staff at licensed facilities to thank them for their dedication to Kansas children.

In total, the Kelly Administration has invested more than $272 million to support child care providers, including three rounds of Child Care Sustainability Grants to aid child care providers to meet the costs of operating their businesses through the remaining impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The third round of Child Care Sustainability Grants announced in March made more than $160 million available for child care businesses to use toward payroll expenses, costs of operations, and potential revenue losses. Rounds one and two of the Sustainability grants provided nearly $100 million in support to ensure child care centers and home-based providers were able to remain open.

HERO Relief Provider Funding assisted all open child care providers and related providers with funding support during the immediate impact of COVID-19. More than $11 million was awarded to providers to assist with unexpected expenses related to the pandemic.

“We know that increasing childcare opportunities is not only a smart investment for growing today’s workforce, but also ensures that our region will have a robust workforce in the future,” said Joe Reardon, President, and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. “The pandemic underscored the importance of quality child care opportunities for our workers, and, at a time of a record tight labor market, breaking down barriers for workers to enter or re-enter the labor force is critical.” 

“Our safe, affordable, comprehensive Early Learning program in the B.E. Smith Family Center has been a recruitment and retention tool for AdventHealth Shawnee Mission for more than 40 years,” said AdventHealth Mid-America Region CEO Sam Huenergardt. “When parents have reliable child care, they are able to fully participate in the workforce, and that family-centered culture is part of what makes our health system a wonderful place to work.”