Gov. Steve Beshear this week announced more than $1 million in grants to be awarded to 64 Community Early Childhood Councils (CECCs) covering 88 Kentucky counties to promote school readiness for children. The announcement is part of the Governor’s continued commitment to improving early childhood outcomes for Kentucky’s youngest citizens.

“It is imperative to the future of Kentucky that our children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn and succeed,” Gov. Beshear said. “That is why we must engage everyone, from lawmakers to families, in making sure all children in the Commonwealth get the best possible start in life.”

CECCs 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, child care providers, Head Start, local libraries, parents and interest groups.

The grants, awarded through the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood (KYGOEC), range from $5,000 to $50,000 per county. The KYGOEC and the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), 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.

“Each community has unique strengths and opportunities for preparing their children for school,” KYGOEC Executive Director Terry Tolan said. “These grants help Community Early Childhood Councils mobilize their communities to improve school readiness at the local level.”

Nineteen additional councils covering 27 counties have been invited to apply for the remaining funds of more than $200,000, bringing the total funding amount designated by Gov. Beshear to more than $1.2 million.