Salina Area United Way Awarded $400,000 by Saline County to Combat Childcare


Salina, KS Salina Area United Way is very excited to announce that the organization was awarded $400,000 in ARPA funding by Saline County to help combat childcare issues.  On Tuesday, July 25th, 2023, at the Saline County Commission Meeting County Commissioners voted unanimously to award Salina Area United Way funds to continue making forward movement on the childcare shortage.  On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law. Among many other provisions, ARPA provides direct funding to each county in the United States through what is called the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Relief Fund (CLFRF). For Saline County, this amount is $10,532,376. Saline County Commissioners adopted a framework for expenditure of these funds, with one of the items including being an allocation for childcare.

“Providing funds to offer expanded and high-quality childcare to provide safe and supportive environments for children is a priority for the County,” says Phillip Smith-Hanes, Saline County Administrator.

In April, Salina Area United Way announced the start and opening of the Early Childcare Initiative Fund at their organization. The ultimate goal of starting this fund is to make strong and lasting steps towards combating childcare issues and shortages in Saline County.

“With these funds of $400,000 we will be able to address the current needs of childcare and also begin working on sustaining all that is being done in our community to make lasting and impactful changes for childcare”, says Claire Ludes, Executive Director.

Salina Area United Way is working directly with the Early Childcare Initiative Fund to look at the opportunities for renovation and expansion of current centers and spaces in the area. At this time, existing real estate is available in the area that could be utilized for childcare and creating more childcare slots for families in the community. Last month, United Way was awarded $1,872,000 by the Kansas Children’s Cabinet Child Care Capacity Accelerator grant program to help create 187 new childcare slots in the Salina area.

For more information about Salina Area United Way and the work they are doing in the community, contact the Salina Area United Way office at 785-827-1312. Stay tuned for more upcoming information regarding the Early Childcare Initiative Fund and how Salina Area United Way and community partners are combating childcare issues in Saline County.