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Early Care and Education

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Every Child Matters

Every child in the Commonwealth from the most rural farm to the inner city deserves the opportunity for a promising life. A quality, comprehensive education and development system for our children is the key to Kentucky’s economic success in the future.

Kentucky offers a wide range of services to families and children from prenatal to school entry. These services are delivered through a variety of state government agencies; local government, health, mental health, and social service entities; non-profit and for-profit providers; and federally funded quasi-government entities.

Child Care

Regulated programs in Kentucky are required to meet basic standards for health and safety and programming set by The Division of Regulated Child Care. Regulated caregivers have a license or certificate to operate and are inspected by the state.

A Licensed Type I Child Care Facility is a facility that regularly provides child care services for four (4) or more children in a non-residential setting; or thirteen (13) or more children in a residential setting.

A Licensed Type II Child Care Facility is the primary residence where child care is regularly provided for at least seven (7), but not more than twelve (12) children including related children.

A Certified Family Child Care Home is a person who cares for a child in their own home; and shall not exceed six (6) unrelated children at anyone (1) time; or four (4) related children in addition to six (6) unrelated children for a maximum of ten (10) hours at anyone (1) time.

For a list of child care facilities in your area, call (877) 316-3552.

Find a Childcare

Head Start

The Head Start program (for children ages three to five) and Early Head Start program (for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers) promote school readiness for children in low-income families by providing comprehensive educational, health, nutritional, and social services. Parents play a large role in the programs, both as primary educators of their children and as participants in administering the programs locally. Both programs provide pre-literacy and literacy experiences in a multi-cultural environment. Parents are also provided social services, including assistance with childcare. Services are also available to migrant and seasonal farm worker families.

Home-Based Head Start provides instruction for three- and four-year-olds. A teacher visits the child’s home weekly, bringing curriculum ideas to share with parents. Parents take an active role in their child’s education by partnering with the Home-Based instructor. Twice a month, the parents and children meet with others for socialization experiences in a typical classroom setting.

Read More About Head Start

State Funded Pre-School

The Kentucky Preschool Program is a statewide program serving 3- and 4-year old children with disabilities and 4-year-olds whose family income falls within 150% of poverty guidelines. The preschool program provides a minimum of a half-day developmentally appropriate program with services that include meals and parent training and may include transportation. The preschool program also meets the comprehensive needs of children through collaboration with medical, health, mental health and social service agencies.

The preschool program is designed to be developmentally appropriate for young children. "Developmentally appropriate" is defined in law to mean that the program focuses on the child's physical, intellectual, social and emotional development, including interpersonal, intrapersonal, and socialization skills.

Read More About Pre-school