For at least one more year, the Informal Caregivers program will continue.

For at least one more year, the Informal Caregivers program will continue.
The popular program that provides relative caregivers — grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings — the same resources and support that are available to licensed child care providers recently received another year's worth of funding from the state.
The project has been funded by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services at the rate of about $10,800 per year. Crawford County is one of only two areas in the state — Shawnee County was the other — that received funding to implement the pilot program.
State budget cuts threatened to kill the program after its two-year trial period, according to Dawn Miles, Crawford County Resource and Referral Coordinator.
"It was supposed to go away," she said. "We made plans for it to. We had our final event and we told everybody goodbye."
But the program has been successful enough, Miles said Tuesday, that the state has granted it a new lease on life.
"They liked what we were doing," she said. "And at the state level, they said they wanted to fund it again for another year."
The program has aimed at improving the quality of care that young children receive while staying with a relative. Along with being provided with educational resources regarding child care, the "informal caregivers" also receive a relatively small payment from the state to help offset the costs of providing for young children. Miles said the payment has traditionally been $1 per hour, per child.
Now that the program has been allowed to continue for the next year, Miles said two new features are being added to enhance and improve the services provided. One new piece is an on-site resource delivery system, and the other is the offering of developmental screenings for the children involved in the program.
Jim Wilson, who along with his wife Mary Ann, care for their two great-granddaughters, Paige and Brooklynn, said Tuesday night during a party at the Laughing Rooster Farm that he's glad the program will continue.
"I think it's great," he said. "It's one of the best programs the state could fund."