FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Steve Beshear today announced nearly $1 million in grants have been awarded to 55 Community Early Childhood Councils covering 84 Kentucky counties to promote school readiness for children.

Twenty-seven additional councils covering 33 counties have been invited to apply for the remaining funds of more than $280,000 bringing the total award to more than $1.25 million.

"Every community has unique needs and strengths," said Gov. Beshear. "These grants allow communities across the Commonwealth to mobilize around improving outcomes for children. Investments in early childhood education are so important to grow Kentucky's next generation of leaders. It is imperative to the future of Kentucky that our children get the best possible start in school and in life."

Just last week Gov. Beshear joined early childhood professionals and community leaders to ensure Kentucky families can now be assured of the quality of their early learning and child care choices by ceremonially sign House Bill 234, a measure that expands and enhances Kentucky's quality rating system for early care and education programs.

Concerning today's announcement, Community Early Childhood Councils work to develop community-level strategies for improving school readiness and early childhood outcomes. These councils are comprised of community volunteers from local school districts, public health departments, childcare providers, Head Start, local libraries, parents and interest groups.

The grants, awarded through the Governor's Office of Early Childhood, range from $5,000 to $50,000 per county. The KYGOEC and the Early Childhood Advisory Council – both created by Gov. Beshear in 2011 – work closely with CECCs across the Commonwealth to ensure a strong start for Kentucky's children.  

The CECCs utilize the Early Childhood Profile, a county-by-county profile that shows kindergarten readiness data, participation in publicly funded preschool, Head Start and child care; quality and availability of child care and the education of the early childhood workforce; and demographic data that represent key indicators of possible barriers to success for young children and their families as a planning tool.

"Community Early Childhood Councils play an important role in making sure every child in Kentucky arrives at school ready to grow, ready to learn and ready to succeed," KYGOEC Executive Director Terry Tolan said. "We are grateful for the council volunteers who give their time to Kentucky's children."

The following is a list of local councils that received grants.

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