West Central Initiative (WCI), in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), is currently accepting applications for its COVID-Related Early Care and Education Wrap Around Grant program.
WCI received funding from MDE on behalf of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund for this program. The GEER Fund provides emergency assistance for agencies and services that have been impacted by the pandemic. As a leader for more than three decades, WCI was awarded this funding in order to quickly disperse grants to early childhood care & education organizations in west central Minnesota.
The GEER funding through West Central Initiative is available for programs that serve, care for and educate young children, ages birth to 8. Grants of up to $10,000 are available for licensed family providers with five or more school-age children, center-based child care, human services organizations, school-based programs, school-age care programs and mental & dental health services.
Wrap around services, a system of care management which supports children in all aspects of life, are one of many education services that the GEER Fund supports.
Funding from this grant can help cover:
- Mental & Dental health services and supports that are already embedded within an existing early care and education program and need additional resources due to COVID.
- K- 3rd grade school-age care programs that support hybrid and distance learning.
- Hybrid and distance learning supports in child care
- Training and development to more effectively operate during the pandemic
- Other activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services during the pandemic, but not built into a typical operations budget.
Applicants must serve children ages birth to eight from historically underserved populations.
"Supporting the programs that have supported our youngest children and their families is the role of West Central Initiative,” said Nancy Jost, WCI’s Director of Early Childhood. “We are providing these grants as a means to help them weather this difficult time.”
WCI has been provided over $3 million in direct assistance to early childhood professionals, entrepreneurs and communities throughout the crisis. With the help of partners, WCI has distributed to both home-based and center-based child care providers in the WCI counties of Otter Tail, Wilkin, Traverse, Douglas, Pope, Stevens, Clay, Grant, Becker, and the portion of the White Earth Nation in Becker County.