MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded the Alabama Partnership for Children a $600,000 grant in an effort to increase the access to quality early care and education programs. This will be made possible by educating the community, parents, and childcare providers of the benefits of regulated child care.
The grant will help the Alabama Partnership for Children to promote public awareness through the Don't Be In The Dark About Child Care campaign and will be used to execute a program to help license-exempt childcare programs in obtaining a license from the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR).
In 1993, Alabama enacted legislation that made it one of few states that allowed certain child care centers to be legally exempt from having to operate with a license or inspections for minimum health and safety standards.
The number of license-exempt childcare centers has increased in recent years, while the number of licensed centers has decreased. According to a book published by VOICES for Alabama's Children, there are 942 license-exempt child care centers currently in operation and 1,009 licensed centers in operation.
"Far too many Alabama children, including a disproportionate share of low-income children, are enrolled in unregulated child care, but a more alarming truth is that parents are completely unaware. There is an assumption and false assurance that child care programs legally operating have been inspected and are monitored," said Gail Piggott, executive director of the Alabama Partnership for Children.