Kid City Academy gets grant to pay for extra precautions

A Franklin child care center will be able to afford $30,000 in sanitary measures to protect children from COVID-19 thanks to a June grant from Early Learning Indiana.

The grant, awarded to Kid City Academy, was part of $2,341,000 in grants to 155 child care providers throughout the state during the first round of awards from Early Learning Indiana’s Come Back Stronger grant. As of Thursday, the Come Back Stronger grant had awarded 937 Indiana child care providers, said Jennifer Erbacher, spokesperson for Early Learning Indiana.

The money will go toward a $14,000 UV air filtration system that will kill viruses and bacteria, a $5,000 Clorox 360 sanitizing system, as well as the cost of sanitizing chemicals that will coat the daycare’s surfaces after children leave on Fridays, a portable hand-washing station and additional staff who will monitor students’ temperatures as they enter the building, according to a news release from Early Learning Indiana.

Overall, there is $15 million in the Come Back Stronger fund, according to the release.

“The Come Back Stronger fund has been a statewide grant fund operating since June 4, and each Thursday we award another round of providers,” Erbacher said.

Early Learning, in partnership with Lilly Endowment (Inc.), started the fund to help support providers in a precarious position because of the pandemic, who have seen revenue decline and expenses increase as a result of that, she said. 

All child care centers who qualify for the grants are licensed and registered in Indiana with good standing, serve families who are considered vulnerable, earning 200% or less of the federal poverty level, and serve children ages five and younger, according to the news release.

Providing a safe learning environment during the pandemic is essential for parents looking for ways to take care of their children, Kid City Academy Director Jonella Salyers said in the news release.

“The health and safety of our children, families and staff is our top priority,” Salyers said. “In order for our community to come back stronger from the pandemic, high-quality child care is extremely important, and we’re committed to supporting families who need child care by providing a safe and educational environment.”

The economic struggles families are facing due to the coronavirus make child care funding critical, Early Learning Indiana President and CEO Maureen Weber said in the release.

“The pandemic has shone a light on the critical role early care and education providers play in our society,” Weber said. “Families need quality child care in order to go back to work, and children need safe and engaging environments to grow and learn. We’re grateful to Kid City’s commitment to providing high-quality child care.”